MTA Chairman Pat Foye has ordered a crackdown on overtime abuse at the Long Island Rail Road — after new data showed workers are raking in massive paychecks by logging a staggering number of extra hours, sources told The Post Thursday.

“The MTA is going to aggressively look for creative ways to control overtime and address instances of overtime abuse,” a source said.

After the Empire Center’s SeeThroughNY noted this week that the LIRR shelled out $224.6 million for overtime in 2018 — up nearly $50  million from the previous year and more than $115 million since 2013 — it sounded alarms at the highest levels of the MTA’s management.

One worker, recently retired Chief Measurement Operator Thomas Caputo, raked in $344,147 in overtime last year — likely helping him secure a pension of $162,000 a year.

Foye’s probe will also examine possible safety and discrimination concerns related to the payment.

“The workers who get the most overtime are largely senior and not a diverse group,” the source noted.

The investigations come as negotiations over the LIRR workers’ cushy union contract are set to begin again.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who controls the MTA, helped renegotiate the deal in 2014, averting a looming strike.

That contract was renewed in 2016 with minimal changes, delaying any talks of serious reforms until last week, when that agreement expired, sources say.

In 2014, Cuomo was happy to accept praise for stepping in to help hash out the contract over a seafood lunch in Midtown, with a subsequent MTA press release celebrating his role in the deal.

“The agreement we have reached today is fair to all parties,” Cuomo was quoted as boasting in the release.

But when asked on Thursday how he would ensure the next contract curbed overtime costs, Cuomo claimed he had no power to slam the brakes on the off-the-rails spending in a new deal.

“The MTA negotiates directly with their union,” said a spokesman for Cuomo. “However, the governor has made it clear that the MTA must fundamentally change the way it does business, and that includes reining in spending that has led to its dire financial situation.”

In the 2014 contract, LIRR brass were seeking reforms to curtail payroll and overtime costs, which could have thwarted Caputo from logging a jaw-dropping 3,864 overtime hours last year.

Among them: scrapping the system that gives people with the most seniority first dibs on overtime and instead equalizing it among all employees based on attendance and overtime already worked, according to a federal report into the contract dispute.

Other proposed measures included changing some double-time payments to time-and-a-half and eliminating extra pay given to conductors when they work on both a passenger and freight train in the same shift.

None of the reforms was made, according to an MTA source.

© 2019 the 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

TOP SALARIES IN WESTCHESTER FOR PUBLIC EMPLOYEES

One of the great government watchdogs in New York State is the Empire Center for Public Policy, led by EJ McMahon. The Empire Center recently came out with its annual report on overtime costs and the highest earning public servants in NYS. Read More

Genesee Community College president tops pay list in Finger Lakes

ALBANY — Genesee Community College President Dr. James Sunser was the highest-paid municipal government worker in the Finger Lakes region, according to the latest edition of “What They Make,” the Empire Center’s annual report summarizing total local government pay. Read More

These Dutchess City, Town Workers Are Among Highest Paid In Upstate NY

Citing data from the New York State and Local Retirement System based on regular, overtime pay and unused vacation time, Empire Center’s 2018 “ What They Make ” report determined which town, city, and village employees are getting paid the most. 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

SUNY Prez Top Paid Government Worker In Warren Co.

A Schenectady County employee was the Capital Region’s highest-paid municipal government worker during the state’s 2019 fiscal year, according to the latest edition of “What They Make,” the Empire Center’s annual report summarizing total local government pay. Read More

Top-paid public-sector workers in region are mostly in Schenectady County

Seven of the 10 highest-paid municipal employees in the eight-county Capital Region worked for Schenectady County, the Empire Center for Public Policy noted.  While the individual salary numbers have been previously reported for the seven men — a child protective services caseworker, a doctor, a lawyer, three law enforcement officers and an economic developer — the report released Wednesday ranks them in comparison to the other counties outside New York City. Read More

Subscribe

Sign up to receive updates about Empire Center research, news and events in your email.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Empire Center for Public Policy
30 South Pearl St.
Suite 1210
Albany, NY 12207

Phone: 518-434-3100
Fax: 518-434-3130
E-Mail: info@empirecenter.org

About

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.