EDITORIAL: The MTA’s culture of fraud

| New York Post

He didn’t work hard for the money: A Long Island Rail Road worker managed to pull in more than $280,000 last year — more than half in overtime pay — while just chilling out at home for countless shifts. Yet he managed to retire on full pension, unpunished.

And he’s plainly just the tip of the iceberg.

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.

And he was on his way to raking in even more when the MTA’s inspector general caught him at or near his home on 10 separate occasions when he was on the clock in April, May and June 2018.

His managers should have screamed “fraud”: Murphy’s time sheets had him clocking impossible amounts of time — 114 hours over a five-day period in May, and 92 in a four-day June stretch.

Called out by the IG’s office, he lied, claiming his union contract let him leave work if he finished early and that he was paid for travel time. You know, like every commuter.

Nor is Murphy remotely alone. The IG also discovered 20 MTA bus and train drivers working as for-hire car drivers during their mandatory rest time — a safety violation that routinely put the public at risk.

And it caught MTA Police Department Assistant Chief Thomas Odessa routinely arriving late to work and leaving early, while illegally using his MTA car to drive to side gigs.

Odessa’s scamming is particularly significant, since it shows a top manager ripping off the public for his personal profit.

The only possible conclusion is that a culture of fakery runs through the entire MTA, inflating paychecks and pensions — with non-cheating workers and managers afraid to lift a finger to stop it.

Setting things right will require not just a thorough house-cleaning, but major management reforms and changes to labor contract work rules. The ripoffs must end.

© 2019 New York Post