MTA boss Pat Foye is making good on his vow to aggressively curb runaway overtime at the Long Island Rail Road and elsewhere at the agency. Alas, the steps he announced this week won’t be enough.

On Wednesday, Foye ordered the presidents of the LIRR, MetroNorth and NYC Transit, as well as the MTA’s inspector general, to conduct “a full review of overtime procedures.” The agency will also review its attendance-verification systems.

Wise moves. Following a recent Empire Center report, The Post has spotlighted outrageous MTA overtime abuse, particularly at the LIRR, where one worker pulled in nearly a half-million bucks in 2018, thanks to 3,864 OT hours. Logging 4,157 extra hours, another boosted his pay nearly sixfold.

In all, LIRR overtime costs soared nearly 30% to $225 million last year, part of an MTA-wide spike to $1.3 billion.

And OT is clearly being used to pad pensions — adding even more to the MTA’s cost.

Notably, the rise in overtime follows on the ending a few years back of a different pension abuse: the scam whereby virtually every LIRR retiree got bigger benefits thanks to disability claims. Turning a blind eye to scandal seems part of the agency’s culture.

Foye means to end that: “Procedures,” he warns, “must be followed” — or stronger rules are needed.

Yet, as we said Wednesday, the scandal goes well beyond “procedures.” The Citizens Budget Commission reaffirms this point, insisting that labor “be part of the solution” as the MTA renegotiates its union contracts this year.

Nearly 60% of the MTA’s costs are tied to labor. If it doesn’t rein in those outlays, they could easily consume all its new revenues from tolls, fares and taxes.

Boosting worker productivity is one key: If total LIRR productivity matched that of MetroNorth, the CBC calculates, the MTA would’ve saved $86 million in 2017. And productivity on maintenance work at both commuter lines is below the national median.

So wish Foye good luck. He’s off to a fine start — but he’s got a long, long way to go.

© 2019 New York Post

You may also like

Faced with $10B deficit, MTA says it’s eyeing cutting overtime spending

Alfonso Castillo The financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is adding urgency to the agency’s efforts to curtail overtime numbers that critics say remain alarmingly high. The MTA said at Wed Read More

Comptroller warns of financial distress at the MTA, and the MTA goes on a hiring spree

According to Ken Girardin, a labor analyst at the right-leaning Empire Center for Public Policy, every new police officer will cost the MTA roughly $56,000, which means the new personnel would initially cost the MTA roughly $28 million a year. Those costs should rapidly increase over time, as police salaries rapidly increase. Read More


One of the great government watchdogs in New York State is the Empire Center for Public Policy, led by EJ McMahon. The Empire Center recently came out with its annual report on overtime costs and the highest earning public servants in NYS. Read More

Genesee Community College president tops pay list in Finger Lakes

ALBANY — Genesee Community College President Dr. James Sunser was the highest-paid municipal government worker in the Finger Lakes region, according to the latest edition of “What They Make,” the Empire Center’s annual report summarizing total local government pay. Read More

These Dutchess City, Town Workers Are Among Highest Paid In Upstate NY

Citing data from the New York State and Local Retirement System based on regular, overtime pay and unused vacation time, Empire Center’s 2018 “ What They Make ” report determined which town, city, and village employees are getting paid the most. Read More

LIRR union chief blames OT on inadequate staffing levels, increased workload

“That’s one heck of an incentive,” said E.J. McMahon, research director for the Empire Center for Public Policy, the organization that publicized the MTA’s alarmingly high overtime rate in an April MTA payroll report. Read More

SUNY Prez Top Paid Government Worker In Warren Co.

A Schenectady County employee was the Capital Region’s highest-paid municipal government worker during the state’s 2019 fiscal year, according to the latest edition of “What They Make,” the Empire Center’s annual report summarizing total local government pay. Read More

Top-paid public-sector workers in region are mostly in Schenectady County

Seven of the 10 highest-paid municipal employees in the eight-county Capital Region worked for Schenectady County, the Empire Center for Public Policy noted.  While the individual salary numbers have been previously reported for the seven men — a child protective services caseworker, a doctor, a lawyer, three law enforcement officers and an economic developer — the report released Wednesday ranks them in comparison to the other counties outside New York City. Read More