Watchdog: LIRR worker made over $340K in overtime in 2018

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PATCHOGUE -

Long Island Rail Road employees in 2018 made 50% more in overtime than the previous year, according to the fiscal watchdog group See Through New York, sponsored by the Empire Center.

That includes one now-retired, 30-year worker who made more than $340,000 in overtime, on top of their salary.

LIRR overtime spending, according to the group, increased 30 percent from 2017 to 2018, or from $175.4 million to $224.6 million.

The costly trend comes as LIRR riders are hit with a new 4% fare hike.

The report also found that 58 of the MTA's highest-paid employees work for the LIRR. The top "Super-Sized Salaries" include a surfacing foreman who hauled in nearly $400,000, a chief measurement operator who earned $461,000 and former LIRR President Patrick Nowakowski, whose salary was $454,000.

Gerry Bringmann, of the LIRR Commuter Council, says the substantial increase must be justified by the MTA and that an audit is needed. Some riders agree that something must be done, including the addition of a cap.

The MTA says it is currently implementing what it calls "aggressive" cost-cutting measures and that it's having a forensic audit done. The MTA calls overtime a necessity for a 24-7 operation and says it's more cost-effective than hiring additional employees.

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