September 2019, Post Trivia – Caruso- Koch Years, 1980-89

September 2019

Post 13 Trivia Caruso- Koch Years, 1980-89

John Young, Patrolman

After a decade of change in PBA leadership (7 presidents in 10 years), Phil Caruso took the helm at 250 Broadway in July, 1980. Elected with him was an executive board comprised of seasoned veterans and some active, astute newcomers, not all of whom were part of Caruso’s “Winning Team” ticket. Only the Brooklyn financial secretaries (Higgins and Joe Dwyer) came from his ticket, while the rest of Charlie Peterson’s “Experience Team” won re-election. Charlie Peterson was hired by Caruso to handle grievances with the Department’s Office of Labor Policy.

Caruso’s leadership brought stability to the organization that suffered from political infighting and disorderly/unproductive PBA meetings during the 1970’s. Remember the call for an Executive Director to lead the PBA, court cases that took years, and Big Mac who had to approve contract negotiations? Caruso unified the PBA board, and following are some of his accomplishments:

Two of the best contracts negotiated during his first term were when Mayor Koch gave cops a point (1%) more than other city workers. Yes, I know firefighters have Me-Too, but everyone loves them. The 1980-82 contract saw cops getting 9% & 8% increases while other workers (DC 37, Sanitation, Transit) got two 8%’s. The 1982-84 contracts gave cops two 8%’s, while city workers got an 8% increase in September (actually a 6.66% increase) and 7% for the second year.

Other benefits included increased uniform allowance ($265 to $505), increased longevity ($200 at each 5 years increment), increased Health & Welfare payment ($400 per capita to $525), improved Health Benefits with GHI profile from 1973 level to 1980 level, and expanded HIP/HMO program, unsupervised sick leave, portal to postal within the precinct, health coverage for suspended members and some other minor benefits. Most importantly was the recovery of the 6% case ($200 per year for 5 years) and all without any givebacks.

A new drug card program for both active and retired members was established. No longer did we have to save receipts. Remember having to accumulate $25.00 worth of receipts, mailing them to the PBA office and having to wait for the check?

When Caruso took office, the organization was in the red, & he eliminated a $500,000 deficit according to one piece of political literature. Sam DeMilia had taken out a $250,000 loan to keep the PBA afloat. We owed money ($50,000) for unpaid parking summonses that members had received around station houses. Caruso and his administration brought financial solvency and stability to the organization.

Major Legislative achievements were as follows: A bill for laid-off Cops that allowed lay-off time to be credited towards pension. Similar legislation allowed time for trainees, prior city or previous state service employees, provided they paid for the time in money. Other legislation included allowing up to 75% to be borrowed from your pension, a pension supplementation for retirees, keeping new officers in Article II, raising a Federal Tax Law restriction from $18,000 to $29,000 at age forty-one, and a two-year Heart Bill.

The organization re-established lines of communication with City Hall, Albany, the Police Commissioner, and increased the PBA’s Public Relations program.

In 1981, membership saw the introduction of New York’s PBA Finest magazine, SPRING 3100. This magazine written by police officers and for police officers had stopped publication in December 1979. Remember looking forward to seeing if you and your partner would be in the “AT YOUR COMMAND” column? The department magazine would return at a later date, but after retiring you had to pay for it.

The 1983 election saw the last of the three-year term, as Constitution & By-Laws changes saw board officer’s term extended one year. Caruso had just won re-election and fought off an attempt by Sam DeMilia to return as head of the organization.

Caruso’s “Top Five” included: J. Pat Burns (1st VP), Tom Velotti (2nd VP), Bernard “Buck” Richert (Treasurer), Ed Haggerty (Recording Sec’y) & Ed Mahoney (City-wide Trustee)). The Bronx bosses had to deal with Trustee Jerry Lange and Post 13. Relations with the Bronx bosses and the PBA sparked the following question on a 1989 promotion examination. It was based upon PG 118-9 (Bill of Rights) and I.O. #82 s.89:

67. Captain Caruso, the Duty Captain, is conducting an official investigation of a shooting incident involving two “on duty” police officers. The shooting incident was witnessed by Sergeant Young and Officer Lange. Captain Caruso advises Sergeant Young and Officer Lange that he wants to interrogate them immediately. Both Young and Lange decline to be interrogated. They assert that according to their union contract, they should be given time to confer with council prior to the interrogation. How much time are Sgt. Young and Officer Lange entitled to for purpose of conferring with council prior to being interrogated?

(A) Sgt. Young & P.O. Lange are not entitled to any time.
(B) Sgt. Young & P.O. Lange are entitled to a maximum of four (4) hours each.
(C) Sgt. Young is NOT entitled to any time, and P.O. Lange is entitled to a maximum of four (4) hours.
(D) Sgt. Young is entitled to a maximum of four (4) hours, and P.O. Lange is NOT entitled to any time.

For those who took the test, you have to ask Inspector Pat Gonzalez for the answer. My guess would be (C), as PTS always told us, if you didn’t know the answer, take C.
During Caruso’s first two terms, we saw creation of the Silver Shield Foundation with George Steinbrenner, where the foundation would provide college scholarships for the children of police officers killed in the line of duty. Remember Silver Shields Night at Yankee Stadium? Those were nights that I’d like to forget TO BE CONTINUED

Remember to fly the flag at half-mast on Nine Eleven to honor our fallen comrades