February 2, 2017, 4:05 AM
BY EDITORIAL BOARD
|A big deal|
Woe to the New York City mayor who enters reelection season shouldering unfinished business with the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, the fiercely uncompromising union buoying 24,000 rank-and-file NYPD officers.
Mayor de Blasio skillfully unloaded that heavy burden this week, and the PBA picketers who routinely staked out his Brooklyn gym, by settling salary hikes retroactive to 2012 and forward to the end of July — at a price to be paid well beyond his years at City Hall, if the cops ratify the deal as expected.
In the best of the bargain, the union agrees to allow body cameras on every NYPD patrol officer, a vital boon to police accountability.
In the worst, PBA President Pat Lynch squeezed the city, and his own future members, for pay hikes above and beyond the 9% of other city unions have received, knowing full well he would win.
All current PBA members will receive an additional 2.25% pay bump, ostensibly to cover extra groundwork needed for Police Commissioner Jimmy O’Neill’s neighborhood policing program, described in a City Hall press release as “a fundamental change in the work our officers do.”
Really? While neighborhood policing arrives as a promising and welcome innovation, it is no more a transformation of policing than, say, Common Core instruction was for educators granted no such pay bonus.
What’s more, de Blasio and his labor negotiator Bob Linn consider the boost fully paid for by keeping new NYPD hires at a much lower pay scale until they’ve been on the job for five-and-a-half years, saving about $36,000 a head.
Well, sure — after 11 years, the amount of time they estimate it will take to bring on enough new officers, most replacing retirees, to offset the expected annual $75 million cost of the extra raise.
Anything to avoid the uncertain hand of arbitration, which had stuck the PBA with subpar 1% raises for 2010 and 2011 but this time threatened to sock the city for more.
Wisely, necessarily, de Blasio secured a PBA promise to forego any challenge to the NYPD’s in-the-works body cam program. As the awakening of recent years has taught, cameras should be standard equipment on all uniformed officers.
Though the deal merely allows the city to press full speed ahead, de Blasio laudably treats that green light as an obligation to proceed aggressively with a full-force rollout on a within-view timetable — promising that every officer will be wearing cameras by the end of 2019, including 5,000 by July 2018.
The mayor makes his commitment even as a year-long, 1,000-camera field test is soon to hit city streets, part of a carefully structured pilot program ordered by a federal judge in restricting the NYPD’s use of stop, question and frisk.
Overseen by court-appointed monitor Peter Zimroth, the experiment will provide a precious chance to troubleshoot weighty issues of technology, transparency, law and public safety before the big rollout. Stick to the schedule — and also to the lessons learned.