Recently, the media has released a number of articles regarding several MTA employees clocking an enormous amount of overtime hours in the last few years, with at least one who retired earlier this year who more than doubled their yearly pension. Due to this, I have called upon the MTA Inspector General’s Office to launch an investigation concerning the overtime pay and pension of those employees, as well as to look into the overtime pay of all MTA employees to make sure none of them are abusing or cheating the system.
I am shocked and utterly appalled that the MTA and LIRR have allowed this behavior to go on for this long and to get to this point. Especially considering the MTA has raised fares and will be enacting congestion pricing in the near future in an effort to raise the revenue necessary to fix the subway and LIRR. My concern is that if it can’t even keep track of its own employees, as the MTA has yet to provide documentation proving these employees have in fact worked the overtime they have claimed to, how can it be trusted to design and maintain a congestion pricing program or even properly handle its finances?
For years we have continually seen the MTA’s ineffective management skills through delayed projects, luxuries being made priority over necessities, and the crumbling of the subway and LIRR systems. The MTA also has a set of archaic work rules, such as allowing a worker to get two or three days’ pay for one day of work or, when bringing in outside contractors, compensating employees for the time it would have taken them had MTA employees done the job. The organization also overcompensates for the amount of man power needed for certain jobs, leaving an excess of workers who simply stand around and get paid for it.
While I am currently researching the history, mismanagement and issues with the MTA further to find feasible solutions, I do have a few suggestions for them to start with. The MTA’s work rules should be reopened, reviewed and renegotiated, and there should be stricter supervision of authorized overtime. This includes supervision to ensure employees are completing the work to earn the overtime, placing a cap on the amount of overtime one employee can earn in a year, only allowing workers to take on overtime in their own areas of expertise, and, lastly, a cap on overtime calculated for pension benefits.
All of this is a great start in making the MTA more successful and fiscally responsible. Hopefully, in turn, this will reflect positively on paying customers by saving them money as well.
The writer represents the 15th Assembly District.
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