Saturday, May 26, 2007

Kelly Grapples with Sacred Cows

It's an odd day in Mr. Bloomberg's New York when one of his employees publicly questions his infinite wisdom. But Police Commissioner Ray Kelly thinks the way to resolve the police shortage is to pay them more money. Mayor Bloomberg, of course, says it's never been done that way.

Hizzoner points to the teachers' union, which simply made its members work more. It agreed to longer days, and even longer days. It agreed to extra days. It tossed seniority rights into the trash. It sent its members to inspect hallways and bathrooms and sentenced others to an eternity wandering the system as overpaid subs. It even agreed to keep its HQ open an extra hour a week, to make it appear that the patronage mill was sacrificing something as well. Why can't the PBA agree to the same?

I mean, it's not like working for NYPD is stressful. You get to know people you might not meet in your everyday life. Sometimes you get to chase them down city streets, by car, by foot, by motorcycle, by bike, or even by horse. Some days people actually try to kill you and stuff, just like on TV. You get to run into collapsing buildings and make the mayor look like a hero. You just never know what excitement the next day may offer. Who could ask for more?

Inexplicably, Patrick J. Lynch, PBA president, thinks the job is tough enough already:

Base pay for the city’s officers tops out at $59,588 after five and a half years. In Suffolk, top pay is $97,958 after five years; in Nassau, it is $91,737 after seven years. “Even if we went to pattern bargaining and it brings us up to $63,000, it’s substantially lower than every other nearby department,” Mr. Lynch said. “Our members will continue to leave.”

Mayor Bloomberg, of course, knows better. Police, like teachers, are interested neither in a living wage, nor working conditions, nor sending their kids to college. They just want to pitch in, help Mr. Bloomberg fudge the figures and make people think he's doing a great job.

It's not like Mr. Bloomberg isn't doing his part. He declines even to accept a salary. Sure, cynics will say he's already a billionaire.

But that still doesn't change the facts.
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