Buffalo, N.Y. - Buffalo police officers will no longer be covered for free cosmetic surgery as part of their contract with the city.
The elimination of the controversial benefit was part of an arbitrator's decision that was handed down over the summer and just became public.
The arbitrator's decision covers wages and health care for a two year period for members of the police union, but it was the language concerning the cosmetic surgery benefit that really stood out for its bluntness.
In his decision, the arbitrator said that "simply stated, the taxpayers of the city and state should not be paying for this 'Cadillac' benefit in these challenging economic times.
"If PBA members want cosmetic procedures that are completely elective and not necessary to maintain their health, they can do what everyone else does, namely, pay for such procedures out of their own pocket."
The city says the cosmetic surgery rider was costing taxpayers about $335,000 a year.
Given that, the arbitrator said that the "cosmetic rider should be eliminated because it is a luxury that is expensive for the city and no longer makes sense."
As part of the decision, police will receive a one percent raise dating back to June 2008 and a two percent raise dating back to June 2009. Members of the union also received an increase in longevity pay of $30 per year.
Given those increases, the arbitrator said that "the elimination of the cosmetic surgery rider is the appropriate quid pro quo for the salary and longevity improvements that are being awarded as part of this award."
With the elimination of cosmetic surgery from the PBA contract, the only city or county public employee union to still have the benefit is the Buffalo Teachers Federation.
Union president Phil Rumore reiterated to 2 On Your Side on Wednesday that the union is willing to end the cosmetic surgery benefit as part of a new contract with the city school system.