The City Council is blocking the delivery of constituent’s emails calling for adequate support for police officers hired since 2009 who are disabled on the job causing concerned citizens to wonder if members are really representing voter’s concerns.
A recently hired police officer who is permanently disabled in the line of duty would have to live the rest of his or her life on approximately $22,000 a year (half from the city and half from Social Security) and would not be allowed to earn any other income under provisions of the Tier 3 pension plan. The reduced disability benefit was forced upon them when Governor David Paterson failed to renew the same Tier 2 pension plan that all of his predecessors had renewed for decades. The NYC PBA – which represents the only police officers in New York State on which these reduced disability benefits were forced - has introduced state legislation to correct this horrendous situation but the City Council has refused to bring a required home rule message to the floor for a vote by members preventing the legislation from being considered in Albany.
PBA president Patrick J. Lynch said:
“The issue is an urgent one because it is simply not possible for a recently hired police officer who is permanently disabled on the job to live on $22,000 dollars a year for the rest of his or her life. The City Council’s refusal to bring the necessary home rule message to the floor for a vote condemns hero police officers whose lives have been ruined in the service of the city to a life of abject poverty with absolutely no recourse. Society cannot ask police officers to risk their lives to keep the city safe and then refuse to adequately support them when they are permanently disabled in the line of duty. The city has a moral obligation to correct this injustice. If the City Council cannot be bothered to accept the emails of concerned constituents calling for action, then the PBA is ready, willing and able to print out those hundreds of thousands of messages and deliver them physically to the council member’s offices.”
In an effort to convince the City Council to grant the home rule message that would allow the PBA to move legislation in Albany to correct the injustice, the PBA set up an app on the union’s website that provides an easy way for concerned citizens to send letters directly to the 51 City Council members. On the first day that the app was live (Thursday, Nov. 13th) over 3,700 constituents used it to send 188,700 letters to City Council members seeking their support for the home rule message. The Council then started blocking the emails leaving constituents to wonder if the council members were really interested in representing the interest of those who put them in office. The PBA is saving the hundreds of thousands of letters that have since been rejected by the City Council’s email system.
The PBA, as part of its campaign to correct the disability inequity, has produced and published an advertisement noting that the City was quick to award over $40 million dollars over City lawyer’s objections to satisfy what they called the “moral obligation” to the Central Park Five while refusing to satisfy the real moral obligation they have to care for disabled police officers who risk their lives to protect New Yorkers against crime and terrorism.