Police union chief Pat Lynch will face a challenger for the first time since in eight years.
Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association trustee Brian Fusco announced Tuesday that he’ll run against the four-term president in the union’s spring election.
Fusco, 47, is the face of a contingent within the PBA ranks called “Strengthen the Shield,” that’s ready to face off against Lynch.
A 27-year veteran working in South Brooklyn, Fusco released a statement early Tuesday that criticized Lynch’s 15-year tenure without ever naming him.
“The current leadership of the PBA has repeatedly failed its members, fumbling crucial legislation, disappearing at critical moments and grandstanding at the expense of solutions,” Fusco said in the statement. “It’s time for steady and effective leadership.”
In a response, Lynch issued a statement that he welcomed fresh voices in the 23,000-member union’s democratic process.
“Unfortunately, these voices are neither fresh nor do they offer new ideas,” Lynch wrote. “These individuals have been coasting as part of the PBA’s board for many years and they have brought nothing productive or innovative to the table. They offer criticism and dissent but nothing productive.”
Lynch added, “we will not tolerate the lies, misinformation and political theater that has been the trademark of their candidacy to date.”
Reports broke last week that a rift between Lynch and certain union members, including Fusco, widened at a delegate meeting in Queens.
Officers at the meeting allegedly complained about Lynch’s focus on getting an apology from Mayor Bill de Blasio for comments police union chiefs said were unsupportive of cops and led to the murders of two officers in Brooklyn last month.
On Tuesday, the PBA sent an email to reporters “to correct the record,” and note that he’d never called for an apology from de Blasio. He said comments about an apology from the mayor were prompted by a reporter.
“Other police union presidents have sought an apology but not PBA president Lynch,” the statement said.
A poll last week found only 18 percent of New York City voters support Lynch’s leadership, overwhelmingly calling him a “mostly negative force” in the city.