Fewer Employees Cost More at MTA

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The list of highest-paid MTA employees was topped by Jay Walder, the agency’s chairman and CEO, whose base salary in 2010 was $350,000, followed by seven other high-ranking MTA executives who earned between $241,341 and $285,331. The ninth most highly paid MTA employee was Dennis Reardon, a Long Island Railroad conductor who received total wages and overtime of $240,489 – more than three times his base pay. Just two spots below Reardon on the ranking was Benjamin Jankowski, another LIRR conductor, who was paid a total of $230,069.

The data also show that the MTA’s payroll increased by $71 million, or 1.4 percent, even though its headcount declined by 852 employees, or 1.1 percent in 2010. For the third consecutive year, more than 10 percent of the MTA’s workforce – 7,993 individuals – took home $100,000 or more in total pay, including overtime and other extra pay. Some 268 MTA employees raked in at least double their base pay rate last year, while three employees tripled theirs.

Of the 488 employees who earned more than $150,000 in 2010, eleven were Long Island Railroad engineers who earned an average of $169,431–which was $94,041 over their annual base pay rate of $75,390. Other popular titles in the $150,000-and-over club included:

  • 53 Metro-North conductors who averaged $90,367 over their base salaries of $76,127;
  • 19 Long Island Railroad foremen who averaged $82,111 over their base salaries of $81,946; and
  • 15 Metro-North engineers who averaged $75,929 over their base salaries of $80,521.

Tables that show total and change in employees and payroll by MTA subagency and certain titles, between 2009 and 2010, the 100 highest earning MTA employees in 2010, and the top 100 among those who more than doubled the base pay rate are available here.

SeeThroughNY allows the public to examine government expenditures on the Internet. In addition to public authorities, it includes payrolls for New York State and New York City government, counties, municipalities and school districts throughout the state. Also posted are pension data for former state and local governments and school district employees; state legislator office expenditures, pork barrel “member item” spending, and a benchmarking feature for comparing local government and school district spending. The site was launched July 31, 2008.

The Albany-based Empire Center is non-partisan, independent think tank.