NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – An MTA time clock has turned up damaged just days after claims of sabotage surfaced about an LIRR clock meant to track overtime hours.
MTA Inspector General Carolyn Pokorny launched an investigation Saturday after learning of a time-keeping clock at the MTA 38th Street Train Yard in Brooklyn was damaged in an apparent act of vandalism.
Earlier this week, one of the new timekeeping clocks being installed to prevent overtime abuse at a Queens LIRR station was apparently vandalized.
At Jamaica station, the cord was cut to this biometric clock that requires Long Island railroad employees to give their fingerprints before checking in and out of work.
According to Pokorny, its wires were cut.
“For the second time in one week, MTA time-keeping equipment used to ensure accountability and honesty has been vandalized,” said Pokorny. “Riders and taxpayers deserve to have a modern system in place in place to effectively verify when workers arrive at the job, and clock out at the end of their shift. We will not be intimidated by illegal acts of sabotage that are only designed to undermine our efforts to ensure accountability across the MTA and protect taxpayer dollars from misuse.”
The MTA is calling the incident an act of sabotage and encouraging anyone with information to call their confidential tip line.
The LIRR has been under fire after the report found its members took in $162 million in overtime last year.
John Samuelsen, whose union represents 46,000 transit workers in New York City, says he’s frustrated with the inspector general’s conclusions. He says the time-keeping clock is used by MTA management, not rank and file members like track workers or bus drivers.
“We have an inspector general who’s been on the job for a very short period of time,” said Samuelsen. “She doesn’t know anything about the transit system or how we operate it. To her credit, she’s been visiting properties to try to figure it out, but before she leaps to a conclusion that sabotage was involved and before she makes broad statements that endanger NYC transit workers, she should accumulate some evidence.”
These incidents come at a time when the MTA is working to control overtime spending. The MTA spent $418 million on overtime payments in 2018. Some employees reportedly made more than the head of New York’s Transit Authority, Andy Byford – who made over $325,000.
“They assign us the overtime because the system is horrific,” said Samuelsen. “We get the system back into a state of semi-reliability, and they claim we engaged in overtime fraud after they assigned us the overtime to begin with.”
The Transit Workers Union president says MTA sources tell him that the time-keeping clock at the 38th street train yard remains functional and is not broken. CBS2 has reached out to the inspector general’s office for confirmation, but has not yet heard back.
Anyone with information about these time clock incidents is urged to call the confidential MTA Inspector General tip line at 1-800-MTA-IG4U (1-800-682-4448) or email Complaints@mtaig.org.