Watchdog group finds LIRR workers bringing home hefty overtime
A new report finds that Long Island Rail Road workers and others across the MTA are bringing home hefty overtime checks, costing the agency big money.
Last year, overtime cost the MTA $1.1 billion.
Tim Hoefer, of the Empire Center, is not happy about the amount of overtime spending by the MTA.
"I'm not sure anyone can argue that this is something we are OK with," says Hoefer.
The Empire Center points to the top three overtime earners, all of whom worked for the LIRR. Salvatore Lazzarino, a utility worker, made $252,892 dollars in OT. Patrick Damboise, a foreman, banked $244,617, and Edward Popolizio, another track foreman, earned $238,789 just in overtime.
"You can think of a lot of reasons that there might be some overtime but when you start talking about a $100,000 or $200,000 worth, that's not an accident, that's happening on purpose," says Hoeffer.
The MTA said in a statement to News 12, "We continue aggressive efforts to improve overtime management and expect to generate $1 billion in overtime savings between 2020 and 2024."
LIRR Commuters Council Chairman Gerry Bringmann says he understands riders' frustrations especially with fare hikes and service reductions. He hopes the MTA will continue to keep reducing its overtime numbers.
The Empire Center did note that the MTA has reduced its overtime spending by a couple hundred million dollars over the years. It added the high overtime numbers may also be from workers nearing retirement, so their pensions are higher.