After an audit conducted by the New York State Comptroller on the MTA, authorities discovered that overtime abuses padding pensions has cost the city and taxpayers.
State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said many MTA workers inflated their pensions by having supervisors sign off on their fraudulent time cards. A total of 28 signal workers for Metro North received approximately $1.2 million in overtime and inflated their pensions by nearly $5.5 million.
Supervisors would assign day workers to night duties, thereby insuring they received extra overtime pay. A federal rule stipulates that workers must then rest for a full day on the next shift.
MTA management has tolerated a manipulation of the system by both supervisors and workers who have enjoyed the perks of having a daytime shift for jobs that need to be done at nights and on weekends, DiNapoli said, according to The Associated Press. He also indicated that these federal tax laws that were in place to protect the transit riders ended up costing the city money at the taxpayers' expense.
The findings were the result of a forensic audit that he had promised to conduct a year ago after the MTA claimed they would institute toll and fare hikes.
According to Reuters, the audit cited a strong sense of entitlement among workers who committed fraud.
Recently, the MTA had attempted to cut overtime pay for its workers.
We will also seek to negotiate with labor to change contractual provisions that limit our ability to schedule manpower most effectively between daytime versus overnight shifts, said the organization in a statement.
Comptroller DiNapoli recommended that hiring more night workers would help alleviate the stress.
However, critics contend that working on train signals is much safer during the day. They also contend that not paying supervisors for a day off after working nights would break federal rules.
We believe the action of the supervisors may potentially be fraudulent, the comptroller said in the audit, according to Reuters.
In another incident, two subway managers were demoted and two other managers retired for falsifying records exposing holes in the MTA payroll system to fraud.
MTA workers can clock in or out of any transit facility, even if it is not their main base. This allows workers to appear as if they worked a full day, when in fact they arrived late to work or left early.
One worker, David Murphy, reportedly would swipe in at the 207th St. subway yard and then would commute to his office in at the NYTC Transit headquarters at 2 Broadway on the other side of Manhattan.
Acting immediately on an anonymous tip that individuals in Subways [division] had failed to accurately and honestly account for their work time, New York City Transit conducted an internal investigation that identified a handful of salaried managers who reported time not actually worked, the MTA said in a statement to The Daily News. Appropriate disciplinary action has been taken.