Days after Gov. Andrew Cuomo slammed the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s soaring overtime costs, his man on the MTA board Wednesday demanded an emergency meeting on the problem.

Gee, maybe the gov is finally getting serious about fixing the system.

The Post began spotlighting these abuses, particularly at the LIRR, after the Empire Center reported that OT costs there spiked 30 percent last year — with some employees pulling down hundreds of thousands in extra-hours pay.

MTA boss Pat Foye seems to be responding aggressively: Overtime “must be addressed,” he insisted as he set the meeting for Friday. “We must be sure it is being used effectively” and “appropriately.”

Last week, Foye ordered full reviews of OT procedures at the LIRR, MetroNorth and NYC Transit, and a separate probe by the MTA’s inspector general.

He also has MTA police checking LIRR employee cards and clock-in/clock-out procedures. Not yet clear is how effective unionized cops will be in policing the overtime of other unionized workers.

Especially since these officers’s own OT pay isn’t exactly peanuts, as the Empire Center’s E.J. McMahon noted Thursday. Overtime and other extra pay for MTA police rose 21 percent last year, boosting their average total wages to $131,959, the highest of any MTA unit, he reports.

At the same time, asking police to catch LIRR OT-abusers suggests that Foye and Cuomo see part of the abuse as criminal fraud. That union bosses are fuming over the move is also a sign it’s got some value.

But much abuse is likely legal. The real test for the governor will come, as we’ve pointed out, in contract negotiations with the LIRR unions. Those contracts, as Nicole Gelinas has illustrated, all but beg workers to run up the OT, especially as they near retirement and look to pad their pensions.

So, while Cuomo and Foye are making some encouraging moves, best to keep the champagne bottle corked for a while.

© 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

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

MTA, LIRR union relationship worse than ever; up next is collective bargaining

The MTA’s heightened focus on overtime follows an April financial report from the Empire Center for Public Policy that revealed alarmingly high overtime rates among some MTA employees, including former LIRR chief measurement officer Thomas Caputo, who made $344,147 in overtime on top of his base salary of $117,499. Read More

EDITORIAL: The MTA’s culture of fraud

Raymond Murphy, a foreman with the LIRR’s Buildings and Bridges department, was one of the MTA’s top earners in 2017, pulling in $405,021, including $295,490 in OT, according to data compiled by the government watchdog Empire Center. Read More

MTA worker on family and medical leave got married, coached baseball instead: watchdog

DeLeon — who began at the MTA in 2007 and earned $44,754, according to the Empire Center — was fired by the agency. But he still kept his pension, according to sources close to the investigation. Read More

Top MTA cop busted blowing off work, using cruiser for suspected funeral gig: report

The cop — who earned $240,926 that year, according to the Empire Center — was then busted using his cruiser to make 14 visits in eight weeks to funeral homes on Staten Island, where investigators suspected he was moonlighting. Read More

LIRR overtime ‘cheat’ hung out at home on the clock, retired with full pension anyway

Murphy was one of the top earners in the whole MTA in 2017 — making a jaw-dropping $405,021, with $295,490 coming from overtime, according to data from government watchdog group the Empire Center. Read More