Mayor Bill de Blasio had to pass a phalanx of police officers from the Patrolman’s Benevolent Association in September, 2016.
The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association and Mayor de Blasio are at war once again, but this time it’s a behind-closed-doors battle over the union’s efforts to boost disability pay for newer cops.
The PBA, which has been fighting with the de Blasio administration over the benefit for years, recently tried to make an end run around the mayor by lobbying City Council members directly for support.
The union has asked Council members to vote for a “home rule” that would back state legislation giving cops hired after 2009 75% of their salary in many cases if they’re hurt on the job.
The home rule is necessary for the state Legislature to take up the bill, which if successful would give the newer cops benefits similar to those that officers hired earlier get.
The benefit was changed to just 50% of their salary at the height of the global recession by then-Gov. David Paterson, who has since said he regrets making the change.
The union wants the Council to support a plan that would have its members contribute 0.4% of every paycheck toward the disability plan.
After the Council’s Democratic caucus brought up the PBA-backed plan this month at its meeting, de Blasio’s team began calling members asking them not to support the plan.
The administration wants cops to contribute between 2% and 3% of their paychecks, which it says is in line with other uniformed workers, such as firefighters.
The PBA doesn’t think its members should pay that much because cops tend to use the benefit at lower rates than other groups.
City Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson (D-Bronx), chairwoman of the Public Safety Committee, said city budget director Dean Fuleihan and Robert Linn, labor relations director, reached out to ask her not to move forward with any plans for a home rule.
“They were asking me to be patient and allow this process to play itself out,” she said.
Other Council sources confirmed the mayor’s side was reaching out.
“The administration had reached out to all their friends and allies,” said one source.
De Blasio spokeswoman Freddi Goldstein said the administration has “tried time and again to reach an agreement with the PBA, but the union has made it clear that it prefers playing politics to protecting its members. If they decide they’re ready to negotiate, our door is always open.”
Eric Blake, the corresponding secretary of the black NYPD fraternal group, said it is imperative the benefit is reversed to 75%.
“These new members of the department need the benefit to survive,” he said.