A suspected saboteur cut a cable on a fingerprint scanning machine installed at one of the Long Island Rail Road’s busiest stations to cut down on rampant agency overtime abuse — spurring a thorough investigation of the Queens transit hub by MTA investigators Wednesday.

When workers came to install the biometric timekeeping system in Jamaica Station on Tuesday, it was found with one of its cables clipped, officials told The Post.

The apparent sabotage triggered an investigation by the MTA’s Police Department and Inspector General’s Office, which on Wednesday afternoon descended on the station, searching for clues — and a culprit.

“The wire didn’t cut itself,” said newly minted IG Carolyn Pokorny. “It’s obviously disturbing for anyone to be sabotaging the system that was meant to ensure attendance is timely, accurate and correct.”

Investigators didn’t immediately identify a suspected saboteur, and several MTA employees have keys to the room that houses the high-tech machine, which is meant to keep workers honest by forcing them to clock in and out with their fingerprints, sources said.

The moves come amid a sweeping internal probe, spearheaded by Pokorny, into long-running overtime abuse at the MTA and, in particular, the LIRR.

The Empire Center, a fiscal watchdog group, in April released a report detailing borderline-impossible levels of OT being racked up by some MTA honchos, launching a series of Post exposés into some of the biggest beneficiaries.

The overtime bills allowed the LIRR’s top earner, chief measurement operator Thomas Caputo, to take home a $461,646 paycheck in 2018 — fattening his pension just before his retirement.

Another LIRR employee, track worker Marco Pazmino, clocked 4,157 hours in overtime alone, which allowed him to quintuple his base salary of $55,000 and take home a total of $311,162 in 2018.

MTA chairman Pat Foye admitted the extraordinary time sheets — if the hours were actually worked — likely constituted a risk to public safety due to fatigue and exhaustion as he ordered an authority-wide review of labor practices in May.

© 2019 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

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

MTA, LIRR union relationship worse than ever; up next is collective bargaining

The MTA’s heightened focus on overtime follows an April financial report from the Empire Center for Public Policy that revealed alarmingly high overtime rates among some MTA employees, including former LIRR chief measurement officer Thomas Caputo, who made $344,147 in overtime on top of his base salary of $117,499. Read More

EDITORIAL: The MTA’s culture of fraud

Raymond Murphy, a foreman with the LIRR’s Buildings and Bridges department, was one of the MTA’s top earners in 2017, pulling in $405,021, including $295,490 in OT, according to data compiled by the government watchdog Empire Center. Read More

MTA worker on family and medical leave got married, coached baseball instead: watchdog

DeLeon — who began at the MTA in 2007 and earned $44,754, according to the Empire Center — was fired by the agency. But he still kept his pension, according to sources close to the investigation. Read More

Top MTA cop busted blowing off work, using cruiser for suspected funeral gig: report

The cop — who earned $240,926 that year, according to the Empire Center — was then busted using his cruiser to make 14 visits in eight weeks to funeral homes on Staten Island, where investigators suspected he was moonlighting. Read More

LIRR overtime ‘cheat’ hung out at home on the clock, retired with full pension anyway

Murphy was one of the top earners in the whole MTA in 2017 — making a jaw-dropping $405,021, with $295,490 coming from overtime, according to data from government watchdog group the Empire Center. Read More