Report Finds MTA Overtime Abuse Caused By Lax Verification Process

Mike Sugerman
October 18, 2019 - 6:30 pm
MTA subway

Spencer Platt / Staff

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — A new report says an inadequate system for verifying MTA employees’ overtime claims has created “an environment where fraud could easily occur undetected.”

The report from the MTA Inspector General Carolyn Pokorny looked at 75 of the highest overtime earners within New York City Transit, MTA Bus, Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North.

According to the findings, the agency has relied on the honor system for years. If a worker claimed overtime, the agency tended to award it since there was no way to truly know.

“The report is really just pointing out the tip of the iceberg,” said Ken Girardin, with the Albany-based Empire Center for Public Policy.

He says his group conducted a similar study and their report found a history of overtime abuse within the MTA. The group also found one subway maintenance worker took home $379,000 in salary and overtime, $50,000 more than transit president Andy Byford earns.

“At the end of the day, the MTA’s overtime problems are all self-inflicted,” Girardin notes.

Pokorny report made several recommendations, including having overtime approvers given necessary information to verify claims.

She also recommends that, each month, the MTA make a list of “high rollers” — employees with excessive overtime claims — and share it with management.

MTA communications director Tim Minton said in a statement that the agency agrees with the recommendations and will begin working to implement them.

“The MTA Overtime Task Force is reviewing process and accountability across all agencies to ensure that employees are appropriately assigned overtime, and paid for hours actually worked,” he said in a statement.