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Long IslandCrime

Subway workers charged in record tampering

Two subway supervisors were arraigned and eight signal track workers indicted on a charge of falsifying records to show they had completed inspections when they hadn't, the Manhattan district attorney's office announced Monday.

The New York City Transit supervisors were charged with first-degree tampering with records and official misconduct, while the signal maintainers were charged with first-degree tampering with public records.

"Failing to properly inspect the subway system can lead to delays in service and, potentially, endanger the safety of subway riders," said District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. "No matter how lax an agency's internal controls might be, tampering with public records to cover up a failure to inspect signal equipment is never acceptable conduct."

Barry Kluger, inspector general for the Metropolitan Transit Authority, said his office had issued reports in 2000 and 2005 about the lack of internal controls on accountability. He called them "fundamental flaws" that the MTA and NYC Transit have just started addressing.

Weekly and monthly audits on the work of signal maintainers and supervisors will be done by the new Signals Asset Management Group, said Thomas Prendergast, NYC Transit president.

More staff has been added to address the maintenance and testing backlog, he said.

"As a result of these initiatives, we were able to reduce maintenance and testing backlog of equipment more than 30 days overdue by 95 percent," Prendergast said.

MTA regulations require signal maintainers to scan bar code strips affixed on subway track equipment after inspecting and repairing the equipment.

But between January 2009 and December 2010, the eight signal workers made at least 33 false entries in an MTA logbook.

One signal maintainer was storing bar codes in his locker that he scanned to make it seem like he had done inspections, investigators said, and one supervisor directed his crew to record more inspections than they had done.

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