The MTA has launched an extensive investigation regarding “massive” overtime payments that saw its workers earn more than $400 million in overtime last year.
Despite a year fraught with delayed, canceled and stalled trains, as well as the seventh fare hike in less than a decade, a new study released by Empire Center found that MTA’s overtime rose by nearly 16 percent last year.
In total, the MTA shelled out $418 million in overtime more than five times what the anticipated price hike that took effect this week is expected to generate.
In response, MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick Foye said that he is directing the presidents of the Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad, and New York City Transit to do a full review of overtime procedures and regulations currently in place.
“Some overtime is to be expected at any public transit agency, in order to keep up with critical repairs and maintenance, especially at a time of extraordinary work being done around the system. But the accumulation of so many hours of overtime raises serious questions, including potential safety issues such as exhaustion,” he said. “It is important that we are doing everything we can to carry out the work of the MTA efficiently and cost-effectively.”
Foye said that there are “ strict procedures and regulations in place regarding scheduling and payment of overtime. Those procedures either must be followed or we need to implement stronger rules on day-to-day procedures.”
Each of the presidents has been directed to review the last 12 months of overtime claims and payments. Those reviews are expected to be completed within 60 days. Over the next 30 days, Foye said that the MTA will also be reviewing its verification systems at each of its facilities.
“The MTA is funded by taxpayers and is responsible for the safe transport of millions of people each day,” he said. “It is critical that we earn and maintain the public trust every day, ensuring that every dollar spent on overtime is, in fact, being spent properly is part of that mission.”