Six weeks ago, a state panel ruling on a bitter pay dispute between City Hall and New York’s police officers awarded raises of more than 10 percent to over 22,000 members of the force. The panel said the officers deserved the money, and that the increases would bring the department’s pay system more in line with those of other cities and nearby counties, reports the New York Times. But now, the Bloomberg administration and the main police union are locked in another dispute, this one over the implications of and responsibility for one provision of the state panel’s ruling: the decision to reduce the salaries for men and women newly hired on the force to $25,100 a year.
Since the announcement of the settlement, which both sides approved, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has blamed the union, saying that favoring the pay reduction for new officers rather than comparable savings in salary or benefits for older ones has made it harder for the department to attract recruits. The union, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, is blaming the city for the new low starting salary. Its president, Patrick J. Lynch, has contended that it was the city that proposed reducing the starting salary from $34,500 – and that city officials had even suggested dropping it to $23,000. Officers entering the force at the new salary will have to work seven years before their pay stubs can equal those of their counterparts – some of whom may have been hired just months earlier. And the $25,100 starting salary amounts to less than half the starting pay for the department mechanics who fix patrol cars.