Readers Write: How MTA can cut excessive overtime costs

Readers Write: How MTA can cut excessive overtime costs

The recently released MTA Inspector General report on excess employee overtime and safety issues is nothing new.  Every generation of MTA chairmen, agency presidents, board members, finance officers and executive management, who manage agency budgets, has made the wrong choice.

They believed it would be cheaper to pay overtime than hire additional employees, whose critical specialized skills were necessary for maintaining functioning safe and reliable transportation operations.  They thought it would be less expensive by avoiding the costs of training, full-time salary plus fringe benefits, medical insurance and pensions by not increasing the headcounts of various departments.  This has contributed to excessive overtime and potential safety issues.

The LIRR should have the ability to hire more full- and part-time employees to deal with routine and emergency workloads.  This would provide a larger pool of employees resulting in less overtime, excessive and unsafe work hours for employees.  Another option is upon reaching retirement eligibility, allow employees to collect 50% of their pensions while still being able to work part time.
MTA Chairman Janno Lieber and LIRR President Catherine Rinaldi should include both in the next round of contract negotiations with SMART Transportation Division 505 General Chairman Anthony Simon.   

Larry Penner

Great Neck

Larry Penner is a transportation advocate, historian and writer who previously served as a former director for the Federal Transit Administration Region 2 New York Office of Operations and Program Management.

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