Former transit cop to challenge longtime police union president Patrick Lynch

Seth Wenig/AP Photo

NEW YORK — Patrick Lynch, the head of the city’s largest police union, will face a challenge to his decades-long reign this year for the first time since 2015 — when he easily beat his opponent.

But supporters of Lynch's latest challenger, union financial secretary Corey Grable, believe he can knock Lynch off his longtime perch because the rank-and-file have been working without a contract for over six years and are ready for a change.

“This is not an old college try. I am looking to win,” Grable, 54, said in an interview with POLITICO.

Grable plans to announce his campaign for the PBA presidency on Tuesday at Columbus Circle where he got his start as an NYPD transit cop nearly 30 years ago.

The focus of Grable’s campaign will be the promise to get a contract, which is currently caught up in arbitration over disagreements about raises.

Grable said the biggest issue for the union's approximately 22,000 members is a pay raise given the cost of living and inflation. He’d also work to change the current disciplinary system, which he says is unfair to officers.

A spokesperson for the PBA said union officials are working to change the disciplinary system, pointing to a recent memo from NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell saying she wanted to overhaul it. On the contract, the spokesperson said they’re nearing the end of the arbitration process that carried over from a bargaining impasse with the de Blasio administration.

“Our entire focus right now is on securing a contract for our members. Politics comes later,” Lynch said in a statement.

One PBA member, who spoke on the condition of anonymity per department rules, said there is frustration among cops who’ve worked for several years without a raise.

“Pat’s done a lot of good for the organization, but it’s probably time for a change, and I think the vast majority of the department feels that way,” said the member.

“Grable is well regarded because he’s a very down to earth guy. He’s no BS. He’s a class act. It’s going to be tough election,” the officer said.

Lynch, who was first elected in 1999, is the longest serving PBA president in recent history. He didn’t even draw a challenger during the last election in 2019. In the previous contest in 2015, he won with 70 percent of the vote.

Lynch was frequently at odds with former Mayor Bill de Blasio. In 2015, the union boss blamed the mayor for the execution-style death of two NYPD officers, saying that “blood on the hands starts on the steps of City Hall.”

He's been largely supportive of Mayor Eric Adams, who is a retired NYPD captain.

The official nomination process for the PBA elections is in May, and the vote is in June.