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MTA office Bloat NY Post


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The MTA is weighed down with managers, marketing types and p.r. staffers - fat the agency should trim before it slashes service, hikes fares or creates new bridge tolls, state auditors told The Post.


The agency has a growing roster of 70,000 employees - including thousands of redundant and nonessential positions - and is still slated to hire hundreds more, the auditors found.


MTA records show 288 New York City Transit employees in "corporate communications," 70 Long Island Rail Road staffers in "market development and public affairs," and 52 at MTA headquarters in "corporate and community affairs."


Nearly two-thirds of the MTA's current $10.9 billion budget covers salaries, fringe benefits and pension contributions, according to an analysis by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's office. Its latest report, completed in September, found that the MTA:


* Increased staffing by 6,436 since 2005, including 3,400 workers from private bus lines it took over and 373 employees in central administration.


* Added 568 employees in "managerial, supervisory, professional, technical and clerical" jobs since 2007 - and budgeted the hiring of 818 more by the end of this year. None of these are rank-and-file jobs like drivers and repairmen.


* Plans to cut 351 maintenance workers, but only 59 administrators. It also vows to ax another 103 employees by the end of 2009, but hasn't said which.


"There are opportunities for efficiencies that have not been realized," DiNapoli told The Post. "That needs to be the first step before the riding public is asked to bear a greater burden."


MTA CEO Elliot Sander warned last week of "draconian" cuts and massive fare hikes - as high as 30 percent. Meanwhile, a state commission is considering proposing tolls on the city's East River bridges as a way to bail out the MTA, The Post reported last week.


On Thursday, Sander will give the MTA board his plan to close budget gaps of $1.2 billion next year and up to $2 billion in 2012.


The top-heavy agency is chopping too low, DiNapoli said.


"The first step should be wringing out all the excess expenses - starting with the administrative overhead," he said.


Despite calls for such cuts from the state Comptroller's Office since 2004, the MTA has dragged its feet on eliminating duplication among its seven divisions.


The MTA has agreed it can save money by streamlining. The agency is spending $210 million to create a "business service center" that would consolidate payroll and finance divisions.


But the MTA won't see bottom-line savings from that effort at least until 2012 - too long to wait, DiNapoli said.


"We'd like them to show more urgency. They should have a more aggressive timetable to implement what they have to do," he said.


MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan defended the "marketing and public relations" staff identified by the auditors, saying the workers perform vital tasks.


He confirmed 288 "corporate communications" positions at NYC Transit, but said only 259 are filled. Those workers include customer-service representatives who answer telephones and e-mails and MetroCard salespeople who travel in vans.


Others run reduced-fare programs for the elderly and students; create and distribute pamphlets, schedules and maps; produce service notices; write press releases and newsletters; and advertise promotions.


Donovan defended the rising staff count, saying it has not kept pace with ridership, which has doubled in the past 12 years.




November 16, 2008



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I agree with you 100% that all those back office functions, a lot need to be cut. Increased ridership does not require increased supervision or increased advertising, or increased marketing managers (:mad: as someone currently working in accounting i HATE marketing people :mad: they are the a__ crack of the business world with their cockamamyed ideas that cost LOTS of money), and HR could probably be down sized as well. the only thing increased ridership justifies is increased OPERATING PERSONNEL.

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Just because you won't see resulls in cutting administration until 2012, is such a bad reason why you shouldn;t do it. 2/3 of the budget goes to salaries? Thatl ooks like some major savings if stuff is cut her and there, especially in the whole (MTA) hierarchy.


The (MTA) is so poorly managed it's not even funny. Riders don't deserve this.

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