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. 

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The Empire Center is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank located in Albany, New York. Our mission is to make New York a better place to live and work by promoting public policy reforms grounded in free-market principles, personal responsibility, and the ideals of effective and accountable government.

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