NEW YORK (CBS 2) – While the MTA is raising fares and cutting service, overtime pay for transit workers is apparently out of control.
An eye-opening audit found that as the Metropolitan Transit Authority blames a souring economy and budgetary constraints for one fare hike after another, state auditors say the agency’s own financial house was running off the tracks.
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“We’ve stepped up our audits and oversights in this area,” said New York Comptroller Thomas Dinapoli.
Turns out they were on to something.
Investigators found that between 2005 and 2009, MTA annual overtime costs jump from $468 million to $590 million – a 25 percent increase. During that time, 3200 employees received overtime equal to half their yearly pay, and more than 140 workers doubled their annual salaries.
New York City straphangers were up in arms over the finding.
“Where can I get an application?” asked Bob Jamieson, a Connecticut resident. “I’d like to double my salary!”
The findings come at a time when many commuters aren’t even fully satisfied with MTA service.
“There needs to be improvements on the subway and MetroNorth and all the other rails,” said Queens resident Shelly Gattengno. “So to me, it just doesn’t seem like a fair trade.”
MTA officials does not dispute the findings, noting the audit was conducted under the watch of the previous administration.
“Combating excessive and unnecessary overtime is a critical element of our push to deliver the highest quality service at the lowest possible costs,” the Authority said in a statement.