Detective Investigators’ “Breaks” in Pay Case
Reprinted from the New York Post, January 2, 2016
Forty years ago, John Fleming said, an arbitrator ruled that Rackets Investigators employed by the city’s five District Attorneys were entitled to a starting salary equal to maximum pay for Patrolmen in the NYPD.
“It was the time of the fiscal crisis, the Financial Control Board,” Mr. Fleming noted, “and they ripped that [award] up and it went away.”
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For the past 15 years, as president of the Detective Investigators Association, Mr. Fleming has been trying to get his 265 members the kind of contract he believes they deserve, amid what he describes as hostility from the Bloomberg administration and indifference from the five DAs and the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor, where 24 of his members are assigned. Back when Mr. Fleming joined that office in 1988, he was its third Rackets Investigator. (The job title, he said, goes back to 1938, a time when Thomas Dewey was the special prosecutor known as the “racket-buster” for his war on organized crime in Manhattan.)
Part of the problem he has faced is that employees in that title have not been afforded the respect at the bargaining table that NYPD Detectives are, even though retired Detectives make up close to 40 percent of his rank and file, with the other 60 percent being career employees who got their first taste of law-enforcement experience somewhere else (the qualification for the job is a four-year college degree and three years of investigative experience, with the latter requirement eased for those with special skills, particularly in the area of computers. “They’ll say, ‘I can train ’em to be a cop but I can’t teach ’em to be an expert in cyber-crime,’” Mr. Fleming explains.)