As news broke this week that New York MTA paid out $418 million last year in overtime, the agency’s Chairman and CEO Patrick J. Foye said that he is taking several actions to address the public’s concerns about the issue and to address the growing problem.
In a statement, Foye said 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.
“I am asking the presidents to review, specifically, the last 12 months of overtime claims and payments to ensure all were earned and appropriate,” he said. “If this investigation suggests we need to look back farther than 12 months, we will do so.”
The presidents have been asked to complete the task within 60 days, and once the review is completed, the findings will be presented to the board and made public.
Foye added that he is also requesting the Inspector General’s office complete their own full review of excessive overtime payouts to ensure that they were appropriately planned for, scheduled, signed off upon, and that the claimed hours were in fact worked.
Finally, the MTA will, over the next 30 days, review all time and attendance verification systems at each of its facilities to ensure it was reported accurately.
“The MTA is funded by taxpayers and is responsible for the safe transport of millions of people each day, Foye 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.”
The agency’s overtime bill is reportedly $82 million more than the MTA expected to bring in from its latest fare hike, which began last weekend, according to a report by Empire Center, a non-profit, non-partisan think tank in Albany.
Two subway maintenance supervisors made more than $350,000 last year, which is more than what Andy Byford, the president of the MTA, makes, according to the report.
On the Long Island Rail Road, overtime went up 50% from 2017 to 2018, with the highest paid employee, the chief measurement operator, making $461,000, which included about $350,000 of overtime.
The Metro North paid out the most overtime in its history last year with about $125 million, with more than 100 employees doubling their salaries thanks to overtime, according to the Empire Center’s report.