Despite a drop in overtime at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) last year, more than 400 employees were paid at least $100,000 in overtime and 667 earned more in overtime than in regular pay, according to payroll data posted today on SeeThroughNY, the Empire Center’s government transparency website. 

MTA overtime payments reached a record $1.38 billion in 2018, according to an Empire Center report two years ago that prompted investigations of employee overtime abuses and managerial push to reduce overtime.  

The latest data provided to the Empire Center showed MTA overtime payments totaled over $1.1 billion in 2020, down $238 million from 2018’s record level. 

Of the 431 MTA employees with overtime exceeding $100,000 last year, at least 19 collected overtime of more than $200,000, the latest records show. The top five overtime earners were: 

  • Salvatore A. Lazzarino, LIRR utility worker, received $252,891 in overtime in addition to $77,038 in regular pay; 
  • Patrick N. Damboise, LIRR track foreman, received $244,616 in addition to $98,384 in regular pay; 
  • Edward P. Popolizio, LIRR track foreman, received $238,788 in overtime in addition to $104,807 in regular pay; 
  • Sgt. James T. Bertram, MTA Police, received $237,176 in overtime in addition to $145,719 in regular pay; and 
  • Lee S. Levine, LIRR machine operator, received $227,035 in overtime in addition to $86,732 in regular pay. 

A list of the 100 highest-paid MTA employees is available here. 

Average pay increased in all agencies except Bridges and Tunnels, as shown in the table below.  

The Empire Center has litigated several cases in recent years to protect the public’s right to know how government agencies spend money. The MTA paid the Empire Center’s legal costs to settle a 2015 lawsuit after the agency repeatedly failed to respond to FOIL requests in a timely manner, as required by law.  

The Empire Center, based in Albany, is an independent, not-for-profit, non-partisan think tank dedicated to promoting policies that can make New York a better place to live, work and raise a family. 

You may also like

Empire Center Experts React to the 2023 State of the State 

In response to Governor Hochul’s State of the State address and policy book, Empire Center experts issued the following reactions. Read More

Math Proficiency Plummets on Statewide Exams, Latest Data Show

The report, issued just as the new Legislature convenes, analyzes the results of the first full administration of these annual exams to be conducted since the onset of the pandemic.  Read More

Sen. Daphne Jordan to Join the Empire Center

Retiring New York State Senator Daphne Jordan will join the Empire Center as Director of Development in January of 2023. Read More

Empire Center Issues State Policy Guide 

The Empire Center for Public Policy has released a policy guide and briefing book focused on the most important issues confronting New York. Read More

Government EV Mandate Could Harm Middle- and Low-Income New Yorkers, New Report Shows

Albany, NY — An Albany mandate requiring 100 percent of new passenger car and truck sales be zero-emissions vehicles (ZEVs) by 2035 could be as improbable as it is harmful for middle- and low-income New Yorkers, a new Empire Center stud Read More

Legislative Staff Can’t Unionize: Report

New York’s legislative employees are not eligible to unionize under the state’s sweeping public-sector collective bargaining law. Read More

Statement on the announced departure of New York State Health Commissioner Mary T. Bassett

After State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett announced her departure, Empire Center's Bill Hammond issued the following statement. Read More

Personal Care Spending Eight Times Higher in New York Than National Average, New Report Shows

New York’s Medicaid program spends roughly $12 billion per year on in-home “personal care” for the elderly and disabled. Read More

Empire Center Logo Enjoying our work? Sign up for email alerts on our latest news and research.
Together, we can make New York a better place to live and work!