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Via Garibaldi 8

MTA paying 2 chief operating officers a combined $555,750

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"The MTA, which never seems to have enough money, is paying handsome salaries to two chief operating officers, one of whom hasn’t worked there since May.

The agency is paying current COO Nuria Fernandez $270,750 a year. And it’s also paying Charles Monheim $285,000 a year.

Where’s Monheim? He couldn’t be located last week. He might be relaxing on a tropical beach, skiing in the Alps, or sipping a salted caramel hot chocolate at an upper West Side Starbucks."

 

 

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/mta-pays-2-285g-exec-job-article-1.1226302#ixzz2Fz3LMDxX

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This is what I'm talking about when I speak about the (MTA) operating in a bloated manner.... Completely irresponsible and certainly not justifiable.... <_< But yeah they're so "broke"....

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There are two different issues here. I have no issues with paying a $270,000 to $285,000 salary to an executive responsible for overseeing a complex operation with thousands of employees and an operating budget in the hundreds of millions. A good executive in fact will make far more than this in the private sector, so public agencies should be willing to pay for quality.

 

The second issue is - are the capabilities and the performance of these particular individuals worth this salary? I have no idea.

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This is actually one of the reasons why MTA employees are so highly scrutinized in terms of how much we get paid. The average hourly employee gets paid less than his/her comparable title employed by the city. While our management is the highest paid among city and state agencies. For example, a sanitation mechanic gets paid $6-$7 more per hour at top pay than I get but Joe Lhota (MTA top boss) gets paid about $350,000 a year while John Doherty (DSNY top boss) gets paid about $230,000 a year.

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When I talk about waste this is what I'm talking about... This is where fat can be cut and isn't being cut. The issue here isn't the salaries but the fact that one is still collecting a paycheck when he hasn't been working there since May... The severage packages are too generous. I'm not sure if the (MTA) is trying to justify these bloated salaries (which we taxpayers are paying for) with the excuse of having to hire top talent or what which I can understand but they have to start cutting some of the fat here because you can't argue that you're cutting the fat by slashing service and slashing cleaners and that sort of nonsense. This is the fat that needs to be cut and then if you have to cut cleaners and services then you cut there, but you can't justify this bloated staff and then say you're broke. It's quite hypocritical and it's been going on far too long. If you can't manage salaries in the managerial areas, then how can you expect the public to believe that you're truly managing costs elsewhere??

 

And the ridiculous excuse that this is just peanuts when you have folks out here struggling to make it is a total insult as if they're playing with their own money here... Smh <_< A few thousand here, several thousand there... It all adds up and the shortfall is constantly made up by the paying taxpayer.

 

The second issue is - are the capabilities and the performance of these particular individuals worth this salary? I have no idea.

 

I can answer that for you having worked in their offices and having seen first hand what happens.... NO!! I had a supervisor that would dish out daily duties, then go in his office and do nothing for most of the day and I'm sure he got paid quite nicely too.

 

This is actually one of the reasons why MTA employees are so highly scrutinized in terms of how much we get paid. The average hourly employee gets paid less than his/her comparable title employed by the city. While our management is the highest paid among city and state agencies. For example, a sanitation mechanic gets paid $6-$7 more per hour at top pay than I get but Joe Lhota (MTA top boss) gets paid about $350,000 a year while John Doherty (DSNY top boss) gets paid about $230,000 a year.

 

The other issue here is they claim they're cutting workers in the field then they cut too many and then sit back and pay out in overtime... Completely counterproductive...

 

My favorite one is when Walder claimed they were reining in spending by not replacing B/Os when they were sick or couldn't come in.... I don't call not sending out buses a cost saver when you're leaving folks stranded without service by purposely not filling runs... Only when they were questioned about it did they admit that it was happening... And they wonder why the public doesn't trust them.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8
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These stories never upset me that much. The Daily News loves to do them, but there's never really much of a point. Okay, he gets paid a lot...like Railbus said, it's not an easy job, and he'd make far more in private sector (looking at you, Jay Walder). It's just not that horrible. Plus, what is this?

 

He might be relaxing on a tropical beach, skiing in the Alps, or sipping a salted caramel hot chocolate at an upper West Side Starbucks.

 

So, they have no evidence that he's doing any of those things but they print that anyway? I might be relaxing on a tropical beach, skiing in the alps, or sipping a caramel hot chocolate -- I also might be killing hookers, but none of these things are actually happening, so don't print that they COULD be. Lazy journalism. This guy may actually be lazy and overpaid, but there's no evidence of that whatsoever from this hatchet story.

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Quite honestly, I think that Mr. Monheim is on terminal leave which means that he is about ready to retire and has to burn up all that excess time that he had accumulated over the years or he will not get paid for it. The reason that the the agency is paying for a second person as the title has been designated by the agency as one that has to be filled now even though he is on paid leave.

 

The problem here is that the pension for management is far superior to that of the regular civil servants and when management retires, they receive a far greater benefit as compared with those who worked directly in the system. What disturbs me is that every time that the media and the politicians complain about the cost of public pensions, they seem to be silent on the high pensions being given to management. Yet they will scream bloody murder about someone who broke his/her back for 30 years or less and is receiving a check that is much less than 50% of what this individual (and others in similar positions) will receive in retirement or when they will retire in the future.

 

As far as salaries go, I think that their salaries are way too high especially in light of the generous benefits that are offered to management as compared with the rank and file. If they think that they will be better off in private industry, let them go. The argument that the agency needs to offer the higher salaries to attract competent individuals for the positions does not hold water as the vast majority of them are politically savvy which is how they got that position in the first place.

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I think everyone here is missing the point. I did at first also, blaming the MTA, until I carefully reread the article. This has nothing to do with the MTA. This was a decision made by Governor Cuomo. What happened was that Walder's main man was Monheim who had been signed to a three year contract guaranteeing he be kept in that position at that salary, of course unless they could prove him to be incompetent, I am surmising.

 

When Walder quit, Cuomo made the decision to replace Monheim with someone of his choosing whom Lhota was not consulted about. So they demoted Monheim. For some reason he accepted that for five months. Either he did not know he coud leave and get paid anyway according to the provisions of his contract, or more likely he needed that five months for pension reasons, perhaps to reach retirement age. So when he decided to leave, the MTA started double paying for the same position which will continue until the end of his contract.

 

Cuomo obviously owed someone a political favor and either was not aware of Monheim's contract thinking they could just demote him and he would have to stay, or just didn't care, or both, he knew and didn't care. Politics before fiscal responsibility. I tend to think it was the second because I believe he pulled the same stunt when Walder was hired. Didn't he appoint someone without any transit experience who formerly headed an NYS agency that was regarded as the most inefficient, to be Walder's assistant. And wasn't Walder so unhappy with her, defending her publicly of course, that he also hired Monheim to be his assistant, effectively also paying two people to do the same job, similarly what Bloomberg did with Cathy Black who knew nothing about education. He hired someone else at a very high salary to teach her.

 

This is why government is always short of money. They preach fiscal responsibility, but are constantly doing political favors that waste money, but as I stated, I do not think this is at all the MTA's fault.

Edited by BrooklynBus
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I think everyone here is missing the point. I did at first also, blaming the MTA, until I carefully reread the article. This has nothing to do with the MTA. This was a decision made by Governor Cuomo. What happened was that Walder's main man was Monheim who had been signed to a three year contract guaranteeing he be kept in that position at that salary, of course unless they could prove him to be incompetent, I am surmising.

 

When Walder quit, Cuomo made the decision to replace Monheim with someone of his choosing whom Lhota was not consulted about. So they demoted Monheim. For some reason he accepted that for five months. Either he did not know he coud leave and get paid anyway according to the provisions of his contract, or more likely he needed that five months for pension reasons, perhaps to reach retirement age. So when he decided to leave, the MTA started double paying for the same position which will continue until the end of his contract.

 

Cuomo obviously owed someone a political favor and either was not aware of Monheim's contract thinking they could just demote him and he would have to stay, or just didn't care, or both, he knew and didn't care. Politics before fiscal responsibility. I tend to think it was the second because I believe he pulled the same stunt when Walder was hired. Didn't he appoint someone without any transit experience who formerly headed an NYS agency that was regarded as the most inefficient, to be Walder's assistant. And wasn't Walder so unhappy with her, defending her publicly of course, that he also hired Monheim to be his assistant, effectively also paying two people to do the same job, similarly what Bloomberg did with Cathy Black who knew nothing about education. He hired someone else at a very high salary to teach her.

 

This is why government is always short of money. They preach fiscal responsibility, but are constantly doing political favors that waste money, but as I stated, I do not think this is at all the MTA's fault.

 

I would tend to disagree because these folks should not be allowed to just quit and still be paid. Cuomo may be at fault, but how many chiefs will the (MTA) hire and allow to quit and still get paid as if they're still on the job??

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I would tend to disagree because these folks should not be allowed to just quit and still be paid. Cuomo may be at fault, but how many chiefs will the (MTA) hire and allow to quit and still get paid as if they're still on the job??

 

 

Do you know what a contract is? Unlike you and me when top executives are hired anywhere, they sign a contract. Monheim's contract stipulated that if the MTA decided to remove him fom the position he signed up for, he woud still be paid for the remainder of the contract. So the MTA had no choice but to pay him. If they chose not to, he could have sued and woud have won. You coud argue that he MTA never shoud have agreed to such a contract, but that is another issue. I have no problem with such contracts as long as it works both ways, if the MTA can't fire him, then he shouldn't be able to just leave on his own either, like Lhota and Walder did. Monheim's issue was different. He quit because he was demoted which was not allowed in his contract.

 

To answer your question, it could only happen if there was a contract. Most chiefs do not have any and would not get paid if they quit.

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Do you know what a contract is? Unlike you and me when top executives are hired anywhere, they sign a contract. Monheim's contract stipulated that if the MTA decided to remove him fom the position he signed up for, he woud still be paid for the remainder of the contract. So the MTA had no choice but to pay him. If they chose not to, he could have sued and woud have won. You coud argue that he MTA never shoud have agreed to such a contract, but that is another issue. I have no problem with such contracts as long as it works both ways, if the MTA can't fire him, then he shouldn't be able to just leave on his own either, like Lhota and Walder did. Monheim's issue was different. He quit because he was demoted which was not allowed in his contract.

 

To answer your question, it could only happen if there was a contract. Most chiefs do not have any and would not get paid if they quit.

 

I know what a contract is.... I sign plenty of them each year with the clients I work with.... My point is why keep signing contracts that allow these guys to bail early and still be compensated for it??? That's just foolish. Are they that desperate to hire top talent? Monheim is a separate issue because it could've involved other factors as you've pointed out but what about Walder and Lhota? They should face a penalty for breaking their contract. Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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I know what a contract is.... I sign plenty of them each year with the clients I work with.... My point is why keep signing contracts that allow these guys to bail early and still be compensated for it??? That's just foolish. Are they that desperate to hire top talent? Monheim is a separate issue because it could've involved other factors as you've pointed out but what about Walder and Lhota? They should face a penalty for breaking their contract.

 

I agree wholeheartedly and have written that on SecondAvenueSagas several weeks ago as well as in my last article about Lhota. Not to provide a penalty clause would be foolish, but there are still those who argue it would not make a difference. I believe it would.

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I agree wholeheartedly and have written that on SecondAvenueSagas several weeks ago as well as in my last article about Lhota. Not to provide a penalty clause would be foolish, but there are still those who argue it would not make a difference. I believe it would.

Yeah and for those arguing that I wonder why they think it wouldn't make a difference...

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I agree that there should be a penalty clause in the hiring of the position. If that was the case, I think that Mr. Waller would not have taken the job in the first place as he wanted to have it his way with a golden parachute in the contract. If we remember, there was language inserted in his contract that provided a safety net in the event that if the contract was terminated before the specified period, he would receive a nice severance package. He knew that once there was a change in Albany that he would be out of there and that was why the language was inserted.

 

As far as Joe Lhota is concerned, I cannot pass judgment as I think that the opportunity presented itself in taking the MTA position last year and it was the displeasure of many elected leaders with the current group of mayoral candidates that caused him to leave within a year. If there was one single candidate other than him that they could have agreed upon that they felt could win the election, then I think that he would have stayed longer. The Village Voice has an article on this subject in this week's issue.

 

There is something that is being overlooked throughout this discussion and that is accountability. Commissioners on the state and city levels are accountable to the public through the elections. They are accountable first to the mayor or county executive or to the governor and then to the state and local legislators who hold hearings and can force change in many cases. If the public does not like how the government is working, then the elected leaders can be voted. out of office who will appoint new commissioners.

 

Public Authorities are accountable to no one except the governor in this state and are therefore are free of many of the contstraints that commissioners have to worry about on a daily basis. They can do what they want and do what they please and unfortunately there is nothing that we can do about it. This is what happened here.

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Yeah and for those arguing that I wonder why they think it wouldn't make a difference...

 

 

Read the interchange here between me and Benjamin Kabak

 

http://secondavenuesagas.com/2012/12/18/report-mta-chairman-lhota-to-resign-on-friday/#comments

.

 

Blame Robert Moses!!!!

 

 

Yes, he created them. So it is ironic that the MTA was created to remove him from power.

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Read the interchange here between me and Benjamin Kabak

 

http://secondavenues...riday/#comments

 

Interesting... So what do you think about Ferrer as interim?? Also, if a clause could be put in to penalize those who leave early that's not medical related, do you think it would hinder the chances of Cuomo recruiting some of the best talents out there for the job? It's risky IMO, but necessary. The way I see it if any individual that's qualified for the job wants to take it there is certainly more at stake than just the position itself. It gives them visibility in the biggest transit system in the world and allows them the chance to aspire for other higher positions in the future, or even increase their salary elsewhere. I wonder where Sander is now...??

 

As for Walder, I agree with you 100%... I don't care how much a guy is making... You can never make enough and quite frankly while some would say his pension is a drop in the bucket compared to what he earns, I still wouldn't be surprised if that was a big reason for him coming back... People that have money love the idea of making more of it, even if it looks like peanuts... Bloomberg may only be earning a $1 as mayor but he earns far more elsewhere as a result...

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I wonder where Sander is now...??

 

 

Sander is currently the President and CEO of the HAKS Group, an architectural and engineering firm based in New York. He is also Chairman of the Regional Plan Association, and serves as a non-executive Board member of the National Express Group (NEX), a UK based global operator of rail, bus, para-transit, and school bus services. He is also on the Board of the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation and the Leo Baeck Institute.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elliot_G._Sander

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I'm mixed on Ferrer. I do not know what they were looking for when they picked the interim. Maybe he won't make waves. Some of the other board members have been there longer and have been more outspoken. Perhaps, that hurt their chances. I don't even see why it was necessary to give the position to Ferrer since he will pretty much be just a figurehead since they also named an executive director. I don't understand why Prendergast could not have been doing both jobs as Walder and Lhota were doing.

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