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Via Garibaldi 8

MTA blames subway delays, repairs for surge in overtime pay

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METRO

MTA blames subway delays, repairs for surge in overtime pay

By Carl Campanile and Danielle Furfaro

March 2, 2018 | 2:30pm | Updated

180203-subway-mta-workers-overtime-1.jpg

Richard Harbus

A squad of LIRR foremen are among the MTA’s top earners — raking in nearly $300,000 a year in overtime alone while the sweaty masses suffer through service hell.

The time-sheet stuffers helped bring the agency’s overtime bill to a jaw-dropping $1.2 billion in 2017 — a 20-percent increase over the previous year, according to watchdog group The Empire Center.

“It is unacceptable that Long Island Rail Road commuters endure daily problems with constant delays and never-ending track work, while MTA employees raked in $1.2 billion in overtime pay last year,” seethed state Sen. Elaine Phillips (R-LI).

“With January having the worst on-time percentage since 1996, the LIRR must improve its service, accountability and communication.”

The OT makes up 18 percent of the agency’s total payroll budget of $6.7 billion.

The top three OT earners work for the Long Island Rail Road — along with most of the top 20.

Foreman Raymond A. Murphy, added a wallet-busting $295,490 to his base pay of $103,566 — helping to boost his total pay to $405,021.

Two other LIRR foremen, Joseph Biondo and Joseph Ruzzo, walked off with pay totals of $447,128 and $405,237 respectively.

A Facebook profile that appears to belong to Biondo shows him aboard a Cobalt boat last year — just one month after The Post reported his OT earnings from 2016. He cracked the top three that year, as well.

“Wow and i thought you were working every night lol,” wrote one user in the comments section of the boat photo.

“Ummmm. I am lol,” Biondo replied.

Another person added, “Nice not to see you working!”

MTA officials claim the hefty overtime bill was necessary in large part due to the city’s “Summer of Hell” and record delays last year, which led to the implementation of its Subway Action Plan.

But critics say the extra hours didn’t even help fix the problems.

“The recent poor service on the LIRR underscores the immense infrastructure challenges the organization faces,” said state Sen. Todd Kaminsky, a Democrat from Long Beach. “Doing more with less just isn’t working,” he added. “Our region relies on a dependable commuter rail system and we must consider solutions, like hiring new employees, to expedite necessary repairs and get our transportation system working for commuters again.”

MTA spokesman Jon Weinstein said that “overtime is closely controlled and requires prior approval.”

“Following the declaration of a state of emergency in our transportation network, there was an urgent need to immediately address service-related issues for riders,” he said.

“We’ve increased overtime as we’ve accelerated repairs to make the subway system and all of our transit networks more reliable for customers.”

State legislators and other officials have tried to figure out ways to reduce the OT — especially within the LIRR — but transit watchdogs say they walk on eggshells when dealing with labor.

“The LIRR unions are allowed to strike under federal law. That gives them a real advantage in any kind of contract negotiations,” said Nicole Gelinas of the Manhattan Institute.

“LIRR workers have higher income, and their work rules are much more inefficient,” she said. “They don’t go get much work done during their shift, which encourages more overtime.”

Former MTA board member Allen Cappelli says he’s been asking himself for years why LIRR workers make so much OT — and why their salaries are significantly higher than city subway and bus workers.

“I also wondered why there was a great salary disparity between Long Island Rail Road and New York City Transit workers,” he told The Post.

“There are people who do comparable work for New York City Transit who are paid less,” Cappelli said. “Higher salaries create higher overtime rates.”

Source: https://nypost.com/2018/03/02/mta-blames-subway-delays-repairs-for-surge-in-overtime-pay/

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Nice work if you can get it.

$300k to do maintenance? Sheri, obviously we're doing life wrong - we could be in Maseratis paying to garage them in Times Square if we worked for (MTA) @Via Garibaldi 8.

But I have a feeling we'd be using Metrocards because we'd actually fix problems instead of dragging the fix out to pad our paychecks. 

Damn our parents for giving us integrity...

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I don't buy it because that's what I see a lot of people and politicians on Long Island say about certain professions. They blame everything wrong with Nassau and Suffolk on the health care worker, the teacher, the police officer, and firemen making too much money on overtime. Like it's never the civil servant, superintendent, mayor, or law firm, or town supervisor's fault that the finances and infrastructure are faulty until they get caught red-handed by Newsday doing something corrupt, Hempstead and Wyandanch being the only exceptions. I feel like this article doesn't take into account that a lot of these transit workers and blue collar workers aren't really rich and need overtime to keep up with the state's high cost of living. 

Edited by NY1635
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Seems funny to me that the headline focus is on subway workers but the article is about the LIRR . Even the politicians who responded talk about railroad employees and problems.  Just sayin'.

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10 hours ago, Trainmaster5 said:

Seems funny to me that the headline focus is on subway workers but the article is about the LIRR . Even the politicians who responded talk about railroad employees and problems.  Just sayin'.

They just use the LIRR workers as an extreme example, but I'm sorry, I think it's ridiculous to pay out 1.2 billion in OT... We really have lost the concept of money when it comes to the (MTA).  They are paying out 1.2 billion in overtime and there's really nothing to show for it.  They claim they are using that to fix up the subway, but I don't see it.  My commutes via subway continue to worsen every single week, and their communication continues to be horrendous.  On Sunday I went to use the 72nd street subway station to get the (C) train.  They had nothing on the status board on the (MTA) website stating that only Northbound trains could be boarded there.  It wasn't until you reached the station that they put up signs at the turnstiles.  This is the kind of thing that angers riders.  We will continue to pay more and continue to get the same crap service. 

Even the (MTA) can't explain justify such absurd pay outs, though they continue to try to.  I mean so what OT has to be approved in advance?  Okay, well that's great, but who is overseeing how much monies is actually spent in OT? Apparently no one.  This is what I call stupidity at its finest.  You attempt to cut back on staff, but then you still pay it out and then some via OT, so why not just hire more workers instead of paying one guy almost 300K in OT?  There is something very wrong when you have guys earning over 400k a year mainly via OT.  I mean if the guy is working his regular 40 hours a week, how many hours a week is he pulling in to earn 300k a year in OT?  That's probably the salary of 2 or 3 guys right there.  

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7 hours ago, BreeddekalbL said:

Ugghh not another one of these disgusting salary shaming stories

I agree that it’s wrong for them to call out individuals by name, but given that we are the ones paying these 400k salaries, we have a right to know — and a right to be horrified. 

For those who say this is just for the cost of living in NYC, think about this. NYC’s cost of living is high (1.7x national average IIRC). So to get the ‘actual’ salary, divide 400k by 1.7 and you get $235,294. Nationally, even this adjusted income puts them in the top two percent of earners. 

Train operators and track workers work hard. No one is denying that. But this is, frankly, obscene. 

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36 minutes ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

They just use the LIRR workers as an extreme example, but I'm sorry, I think it's ridiculous to pay out 1.2 billion in OT... We really have lost the concept of money when it comes to the (MTA).  They are paying out 1.2 billion in overtime and there's really nothing to show for it.  They claim they are using that to fix up the subway, but I don't see it.  My commutes via subway continue to worsen every single week, and their communication continues to be horrendous.  On Sunday I went to use the 72nd street subway station to get the (C) train.  They had nothing on the status board on the (MTA) website stating that only Northbound trains could be boarded there.  It wasn't until you reached the station that they put up signs at the turnstiles.  This is the kind of thing that angers riders.  We will continue to pay more and continue to get the same crap service. 

Even the (MTA) can't explain justify such absurd pay outs, though they continue to try to.  I mean so what OT has to be approved in advance?  Okay, well that's great, but who is overseeing how much monies is actually spent in OT? Apparently no one.  This is what I call stupidity at its finest.  You attempt to cut back on staff, but then you still pay it out and then some via OT, so why not just hire more workers instead of paying one guy almost 300K in OT?  There is something very wrong when you have guys earning over 400k a year mainly via OT.  I mean if the guy is working his regular 40 hours a week, how many hours a week is he pulling in to earn 300k a year in OT?  That's probably the salary of 2 or 3 guys right there.  

If the MTA can't justify the absurd payouts then it's the accountant's fault for not keeping track of agency's finances, not the LIRR workers. Either the agency is miscounting the funds, or there are too many CEOs and too little accountants to keep track of where the money is going. 

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Let me get this right....

The agency that's responsible for running the subway in this city, is blaming subway delays on (the lack of attention to) fiscal responsibilities (e.g, payroll) they have control over??? I think it's downright disgusting to try to have the general public pinpoint their outrage on high-salaried workers, over the entity responsible for paying these people.....

The guy{s} they're overpaying aren't the problem (unless they're not doing their jobs, which is a separate issue altogether), it's the fact that they're being paid these exorbitant salaries in the first place..... And to have read beforehand that they're not training new hires properly, that's a very troubling combination.....

Instead of playing the blame game, how about they address all these fu***** delays....

Edited by B35 via Church
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This thread has been moved to the railroad section as it primarily deals with the Long Island Railroad and not the subway.

This is what happens when the agency gets very stingy with hiring new employees. I can't really get annoyed simply by the fact that MTA employees are earning exorbitant overtime pay. Jobs need to be done and if there is a shortage of available workers, as has been the case since the hiring freeze following the recession, workers will need to remain on the job until the work is complete, not when their shifts end. However, if said workers are padding out their times so the bulk of their work falls under overtime hours, as I'm sure is the case for some of these instances, this will need to be investigated. Another thing that needs to be remedied is the reduced staffing levels. The recession is over; it makes no sense to keep employment levels artificially low just to avoid paying benefits. If they hire more workers and train them correctly, the high amounts of overtime pay should drop significantly.

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58 minutes ago, Lance said:

This thread has been moved to the railroad section as it primarily deals with the Long Island Railroad and not the subway.

This is what happens when the agency gets very stingy with hiring new employees. I can't really get annoyed simply by the fact that MTA employees are earning exorbitant overtime pay. Jobs need to be done and if there is a shortage of available workers, as has been the case since the hiring freeze following the recession, workers will need to remain on the job until the work is complete, not when their shifts end. However, if said workers are padding out their times so the bulk of their work falls under overtime hours, as I'm sure is the case for some of these instances, this will need to be investigated. Another thing that needs to be remedied is the reduced staffing levels. The recession is over; it makes no sense to keep employment levels artificially low just to avoid paying benefits. If they hire more workers and train them correctly, the high amounts of overtime pay should drop significantly.

Jobs need to be done with two people working and six to eight people standing around... <_< lol@ the idea of there being a shortage of workers and the idea that large amounts of people aren't padding their salaries.

 

2 hours ago, RR503 said:

I agree that it’s wrong for them to call out individuals by name, but given that we are the ones paying these 400k salaries, we have a right to know — and a right to be horrified. 

For those who say this is just for the cost of living in NYC, think about this. NYC’s cost of living is high (1.7x national average IIRC). So to get the ‘actual’ salary, divide 400k by 1.7 and you get $235,294. Nationally, even this adjusted income puts them in the top two percent of earners. 

Train operators and track workers work hard. No one is denying that. But this is, frankly, obscene. 

Cost of living... These guys are earning more than what the president earns!  The president earns $400,000 a year... Just to put things into perspective, and it's been that way since 2001... So much for cost of living increases...

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8
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1 hour ago, Lance said:

This thread has been moved to the railroad section as it primarily deals with the Long Island Railroad and not the subway.

This is what happens when the agency gets very stingy with hiring new employees. I can't really get annoyed simply by the fact that MTA employees are earning exorbitant overtime pay. Jobs need to be done and if there is a shortage of available workers, as has been the case since the hiring freeze following the recession, workers will need to remain on the job until the work is complete, not when their shifts end. However, if said workers are padding out their times so the bulk of their work falls under overtime hours, as I'm sure is the case for some of these instances, this will need to be investigated. Another thing that needs to be remedied is the reduced staffing levels. The recession is over; it makes no sense to keep employment levels artificially low just to avoid paying benefits. If they hire more workers and train them correctly, the high amounts of overtime pay should drop significantly.

Nobody wants to read that 3 separate MTA employees are being paid more than twice their 6-figure base pays in OT, amounting to 1.2 million something odd dollars b/w the 3 of 'em.... It's a slap in the face to those that have to endure constant delays day-in & day-out & the attempt at trying to divert attention from the real issues that need to be addressed with the subways/RR's/buses by the MTA here is a very lackadaisical one... Because at the end of the day, these workers aren't paying themselves... It's idiotic to want to put it out publicly that *we can't do what needs to get done because we're paying out 1.6 billion in OT*....

Whether it's workers making too much in OT or a lack of workers, either way it falls on the MTA.....

 

 

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15 hours ago, BreeddekalbL said:

Ugghh not another one of these disgusting salary shaming stories

Like shaming the rows of pigeons that make money by sitting on a third rail checking their phones while trains have to crawl through at 5 mph?

lypqDr7.jpg

 

I mean, a lot of people paint MTA workers with broad strokes, but there definitely is a lot of waste. I’m hoping that this new NYCT president can identify who exactly is worth their salary and who is not.

Edited by CenSin
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10 hours ago, Lance said:

The recession is over; it makes no sense to keep employment levels artificially low just to avoid paying benefits. If they hire more workers and train them correctly, the high amounts of overtime pay should drop significantly.

I think it’s also worth noting how agency culture and practices discourage hiring.

If NYCT was to add, say, 1000 workers, it’d make their ops budget increase by x amount. That’s all well and good when politicians and revenue give you everything that you want, but as we know, that’s not the case. So, the gap is distributed around the departments, and each one is told to reduce their budget by an amount equivalent to their share. Given that these 1,000 workers are likely to be seen as ‘fat,’ given that the authority once operated without them, they would be ripe targets for cutting, especially given that over the past ten or so years during which this shortfall-reduction method has existed, pretty much everything else cuttable has been cut.  

Overtime, on the other hand, can just be charged to ‘unforeseen events causing budget changes,’ absolving the authority of really any responsibility, and allowing them to roll it into debt, where it is more likely to be absorbed unnoticed. That further increases its popularity with the bean counters, beyond them not having to train or pay anyone else. 

So, along with the agency seeing that paying a few more workers won’t kill them, they need to end this process of cutting. They need to realize they’ve reached the bone. 

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