D.C. City Council Chairman David A. Clarke said yesterday that most council members support an arbitration panel's ruling in favor of increased pay raises for police officers.

In a letter to Mayor Marion Barry, who would like to overturn the ruling, Clarke asked that the matter be referred promptly to the council.

Last month, the panel ruled that the District must grant its police union larger pay raises than those that other unions had accepted. The decison could cost the city an estimated $23 million over a three-year period, according to city officials.

Barry had argued against the decision, saying that it would be too costly and would set a bad precedent by encouraging unions to count on the arbitration process to win more lucrative contracts.

Barry tried unsuccessfully to get the D.C. Public Employee Relations Board to overturn the panel's decision.

In a letter to Barry, Clarke asked that Barry send the panel's ruling to the council before it breaks for summer recess on July 15.

"You are to be commended for trying to assure that all collective bargaining units in the city are treated equitably," Clarke wrote. "However, now that the Public Employee Relations Board has denied your appeal, there will be no cost savings effected nor good-will engendered with further delay."

Barry had not responded to the request by late yesterday.