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Get off the gravy train


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Get off the gravy train



June 17th 2008




Lee Sander[/float]The subways are flat broke, busted. Straphangers are facing a fare hike in 2009, the second in two years. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority does not have the money to deliver promised improvements and might actually be forced to cut service.


So, hey, let's give MTA Chief Executive Lee Sander a $10,000 raise on top of the $340,000 compensation called for in his contract, and let's make it retroactive to January, and, while we're at it, let's build in guaranteed future raises.


That's what the MTA okayed. And how dumb and infuriating can they be? Plenty of both.


Sander and his boss, Chairman Dale Hemmerdinger, are doing their level best to convince New York that they are out-of-touch plutocrats who share a rarefied sense of privilege.


No, 10 grand won't break the budget. It's the thought - or rather the lack of thinking - that counts. And it's the same boneheaded tone-deafness that Hemmerdinger showed in trying to defend lifetime E-ZPasses and transit passes for former MTA board members.


The message he and Sander are sending is that sacrifice starts with straphangers - the very public Hemmerdinger and Sander will need at their side in the coming battle for transit funding in Albany.


Oh, them. The riders. The toll payers. The people who are getting hammered every which way by rising prices, don't get a break on anything and certainly can't top off big fat paychecks with a couple hundred bucks more a week.



F. Roberts for News

Dale Hemmerdinger

[/float]Sander has just begun what's going to be a long drive to press the Legislature and governor for money. He's got the facts on his side. The MTA's operating budget is as much as $700 million in the red. Unless the state comes through - as was promised - the riders will pay huge freight. At the same time, the MTA's budget for maintaining and expanding the system itself is a whopping $20 billion out of whack.


Sander and Hemmerdinger must put the focus on getting money from Albany instead of on the generous perks they get for running the show. That they can offer a rationale for why Sander's $10,000 hike makes policy sense is meaningless.


(For the record, other management employees got 3% raises to keep them on pace with unionized workers; Sander makes less than transit bosses in other cities; some of Sander's subordinates got contractual raises; you have to pay well to keep talent, and so on and so forth.)


You have heard it all before.


What you should now hear is that, starting with Sander, those at the top will turn back programmed raises until MTA finances are fairly squared away. They, too, must sacrifice.

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1. What the heck is a Hemmerdinger???? Sounds like something a person would call a mans "unit". "Put your little hemmerdinger in your pants".........


2. I was going to rip on G. Sander, but you all are the riders so you all can squat over his carcass, and rip one on him...... He makes less than other officials, in other cities. No other city here in the Americas, can compare to MTA. So he gets paid less that his peers, running the largest agency in the Americas......



Still $350,000 is a lot to push papers on others. But then again, that is his play money. He is still a business man already rich............

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