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Blizzard management: Controlling the message from the top
In case you forgot which government official is highest in the pecking order when it comes to the MTA, consider this news release from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo issued Friday night:
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced tonight that the MTA Long Island Rail Road has suspeneded (sic) service on the Montauk Branch east of Speonk for safety reasons due to snow accumulation and visibility issues.
The 8:53 p.m. Montauk train from Jamaica, which receives passengers from 8:30 p.m. trains from Penn and Atlantic Terminal, will be terminated at Speonk.
Service will be restored as soon as it is safe to do so.
The LIRR may suspend service on other branches for customer safety if snow accumulations reach 10-13 inches and to give LIRR crews an opportunity to clear snow from tracks and switches.
This micro-public-advisory suggests that next time there's a subway mishap, maybe city reporters should skip over the MTA and its big subsidiaries and call up to the Capitol second floor in Albany for details on when the N and R lines will return to normal service.
Or consider this story from Newsday from last week, where former MTA Chairman Joe Lhota, now running for NYC mayor, took the hit:
Former MTA chairman Joseph Lhota handed out retroactive pay raises -- totaling more than $250,000 -- to the agency's top three presidents and a retired executive at a time when the agency is hiking fares.
The lump sum payments to the four executives -- one as high as $98,000 -- were issued in December, just before Lhota stepped down to run for mayor.
Under what seems to be the current protocol, shouldn't the governor's office be the ones fielding queries on this? How about on the fare hikes? After all, there was a lot of "Cuomo team" association with Lhota when the MTA recovered from Sandy in an unexpectedly swift way.
Point is, if you're going to own the place, own it....