Riders Furious They Have Since Been Asked To Ante Up Again

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has hit a bump in the road: massive spending on employee overtime.

The state comptroller has discovered $600 million in excessive overtime between 2008 and 2009.

As CBS 2’s Josh Landis reports, it meant some employees found themselves on the gravy train.

The MTA has been telling commuters they need to spend more, but state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said Thursday the MTA needs to worry about its own spending on overtime.

“They just haven’t managed money in the best way possible. That’s why we have stepped up our audits and oversights in this area,” DiNapoli said.

Reactions to the half-billion-plus dollars in MTA overtime pay ranged from anger to envy.

“There needs to be improvements on the subways and Metro North and all the other rails, so to me, it just doesn’t seem like a fair trade,” said Shelly Gattegno of Queens.

“Where can I get an application? I’d like to double my salary,” added Bob Jamieson of Greenwich, Conn.

More than 3,200 MTA employees received overtime equal to half their annual pay. More than 140 workers doubled their salaries.

Things got so out of control that one railroad repair man that normally made $65,000 pulled in more than $200,000 in one year with overtime.

The MTA does not dispute the findings. In a statement it said: “…combating excessive and unnecessary overtime is a critical element of our push to deliver the highest quality service at the lowest possible cost.”

DiNapoli said his office will be watching.

“At this time where dollars are so scarce we need to be sure that money is being spent wisely. In the case of overtime, that’s not been the situation,” DiNapoli said.

He recommends more efficient scheduling, more vigilant management and possibly an agency-wide cap on overtime to get MTA spending back on track.

Part of the reason for the overtime increase is the MTA laid off hundreds of employees, forcing others to work longer hours.