Contact: Albert O'Leary
“The PBA intends to use every legal, legislative and public relations resource at its disposal to fight Mayor Bloomberg’s proposals to renege on these longstanding, legislatively approved and collectively bargained benefits. The mayor forgets to mention that these benefits were bought and paid for at the bargaining table and in arbitrations and that police officers sacrificed compensation and gave the city $100 million up front for some of these benefits. He ignores the fact that the city reaped billions in surplus pension earnings from the agreements during the boom years of the 1990s, and now he wants to go back on the deals the city made then and on the promises made to us when we were hired. And calling any of our benefits any type of “bonus” is a lie no matter how many times he says it.
“Police and fire pensions and other benefits are in no way responsible for the state and city’s budget problems, and to use them as scapegoats for cyclical budget shortfalls is a cynical and politically motivated betrayal of the contract-negotiating process and of the public trust.
“It’s not only unfair but it’s also fiscally unsound policy to try to balance the budget on the backs of police officers and firefighters who have already given so much to the cause of public safety. It can only result in recruitment problems and, possibly, a further spike in crime when crime rates are already on the rise. We’re down 6,000 police officers and soon losing 1,000 more. Low crime rates and fire safety are the engines that drive the city’s economy. With tourism at an all time high, this is no time to create disincentives for people to aspire to police careers.
“There are more sensible ways to save the city money, including efforts to secure additional funding from the Department of Homeland Security and other federal sources. And the mayor should consider cutting the waste from his own administration, such as the staggering $722 million – and counting – wasted on his CityTime tracking system.”