– After an emergency board meeting that became very heated on Friday, MTA CEO and Chairman Patrick Foye said an independent monitor will be assigned to investigate allegations of overtime abuse.

Foye called the meeting in response to the backlash the agency has received over excessive amounts of overtime. At the heated meeting, he said most overtime hours are legitimate but that a fraction of overtime is apparently fraudulent and an abuse of the system.

“I support the MTA proceeding with retaining special counsel to conduct an investigation of the timekeeping and attendance systems of the MTA and overtime abuse,” Foye said in a statement. “We owe the taxpayers and our customers an explanation of how some have abused the system and ensure it never happens again.”

Last month, a watchdog group called Empire Center for Public Policy released a report after examining MTA payroll data. The report found that the MTA spent more than $1 billion in overtime in 2018, up $100 million from the prior year.

Tim Hoefer, the Empire Center’s executive director, said the problem isn’t about one or two people submitting phony timesheets. He said the problem is that the MTA has agreed to “bad labor deals.”

But John Samuelsen, an MTA board member and president of TWO Local 100, called the allegations of overtime fraud and abuse “baseless.” He said some workers amass a lot of overtime because of the projects the agency has fast-tracked.

© 2019 Fox 5 NY

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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.