With little fanfare on Wednesday Aug. 5, Mayor Giuliani signed into law a City Council bill giving himself an 18 percent raise making him the highest paid mayor in the nation and giving City Council Members a 28 percent raise. (Remember, the City Council is supposed to be a part-time job.) The bill also gave substantial raises to other top city officials. This increase is on top of a 27 percent raise the Mayor and Council gave themselves four years ago.
A little simple arithmetic shows that between July 1, 1995, and July 1, 1999, the Mayor has enjoyed a raise of nearly 45 percent and Council Members a whopping increase of more than 56 percent. By way of simple comparison, between April 1, 1995, and June 1, 2000 New York City police officers have received a mere 12 percent increase!
The mayor, scrambling to justify this dichotomy, pointed out that the higher salary he has awarded himself will make it easier to attract better qualified people to public service in the future. We agree and take the mayor's rationale one logical step further: Police officers should also have higher salaries to attract, and keep, better qualified people. It is no accident that at this writing after a recruitment campaign that cost the city millions and left recruitment posters strewn all over one whole side of One Police Plaza only 5,600 people have applied to become New York City police officers. It seems most people recognize a bad deal when they see one!
As we gear up for contract negotiations, you can rest assured that the mayor's selective generosity will be a major issue at the bargaining table. And, very possibly, before PERB.
on the PR Front
The public relations campaign to promote issues important to the rank-and-file police officer is in full swing. Recently, we have sent out a number of press releases addressing critical issues, and because of their release our positions have been given equal time and space in the broadcast and print news accounts dealing with the issues.
We still care very deeply about those issues the jail time given to two innocent officers in the 25 Pct. radio case, the wrongful conviction of Charles Schwarz in the Louima case, and the priority of a decent pay raise for cops in the upcoming contract. (We also publicized our position on the unfair new NYPD policy putting the burden on cops to know when a product contains a banned substance derivative.
We will continue to make our voice heard on these and other matters.
PBA President Pat Lynch has also given print interviews and made several TV and radio appearances to bolster police officers' image and to advocate our causes.
In one example, the weekly civil service newspaper, The Chief-Leader, gave page-one coverage to a memo PBA President Lynch sent to all delegates and members denouncing the NYPD plan to promote 300 police officers to the rank of detective specialist. Excerpts from The Chief-Leader's article:
"'These promotions have been decided on without regard to performance or seniority and without consultation with the union,' the statement signed by Mr. Lynch said. 'We believe this action by the department is arbitrary and divisive.'
"The PBA president called upon his members to turn down the promotions as an act of 'solidarity with your PBA.' He urged the cops to address a '49' or memorandum to the Chief of Personnel, stating their intention to refuse the gold shield."
Keep reading, watching and listening. It's your image we want to promote.
See also last month's press releases on Cardinal O'Connor's visit with the family of Charles Schwarz, and Commissioner Safir's visit with Pat Lynch at PBA headquarters.
The PBA's four-session Careers and Financial Planning Workshop, offered and developed with the cooperation of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, will be held on Oct. 7, 14, 21 and 28.
If you are not already registered, you should sign up as soon as possible because a large turnout is expected.
The workshop, for which there is no charge, will be held at Queensborough Community College. To register and obtain the required permit to park on the Queensborough campus, call PBA Retirement Counseling Services at (212) 298-9247 or 9248 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Each session covers a different topic, including your Police Dept. pension, PBA health & welfare benefits, savings investments and second career opportunities.
A couple of weeks ago, the Department issued Interim Order 37/99, putting the burden on police officers to know what foods, cosmetics and health care products contain derivatives that may lead to false positives on a Dole test and to refrain from using those products. After consulting with our lawyers, we immediately objected to this unfair policy and issued a statement to the press outlining our reasons for opposing it.
After emphasizing that we have zero tolerance for drug use among our members, the statement pointed out that "to expect police officers to read a list of ingredients on a bag of snack food, many of which are named in chemical terms, and then to determine whether those chemicals might contain 'derivatives' of the hundreds of controlled substances listed in the Public Health Law, most of which are defined in chemical terms, is to ask the impossible."
The salient points of our statement were included in press accounts of the policy.
As the statement pointed out, "We are not scientists and doctors. We are police officers."
The PBA position is that a fairer approach would be for the Department to list the products which may contain derivatives of controlled substances and to ask members of the service to declare, before submitting a urine sample for analysis, which of those products were recently ingested. This would be accomplished in much the same way that the Department requires a list of ingested drugs. The Department should create a clear set of guidelines that the average person can understand.
Also, the PBA intends to file a grievance concerning this matter before the Office of Collective Bargaining as an unfair labor practice.
There has been some confusion out there in the field over the State Legislature's repeal of the non-resident income tax, commonly known as the "commuter tax." Some people are confusing the non-resident income tax with Section 1127 of the New York City Charter. That section, also referred to as the "tax waiver," must be paid by every employee of a mayoral agency hired after July 1, 1973, who resides outside the five boroughs. The amount to be paid under Section 1127 is equal to the amount the employee would have paid in city income tax.
Keep in mind that Section 1127 is not considered a tax by the city or the courts. It is viewed as a condition of employment. So, while every police officer who resides outside the city no longer has to pay the non-resident income tax, each officer must continue to satisfy the payment demanded under Section 1127.
The amount required to be paid under Section 1127 is subject to payroll deduction and appears on each officer's paycheck in the appropriately marked box.
See also archives.