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MTA inspector general investigating 'smashed' biometric time clock

The Kronos timekeeping device was discovered damaged Wednesday

The Kronos timekeeping device was discovered damaged Wednesday by an LIRR information technology employee at the railroad's Forest Hills Station. Credit: MTA

The MTA’s internal watchdog is investigating whether a “smashed” biometric time clock was deliberately vandalized by a Long Island Rail Road employee.

The Kronos timekeeping device was discovered damaged Wednesday by an LIRR information technology employee at the railroad’s Forest Hills Station.

The office of MTA Inspector General Carolyn Pokorny, in a statement, said its investigation into the incident “is still in the preliminary stages, and cannot yet be deemed whether or not it was an act of vandalism.”

The incident is the 10th involving damage to an MTA employee biometric time clock since June — shortly after the Metropolitan Transportation Authority began installing the devices, which scan workers’ fingers, to prevent overtime fraud.

The technology aims to ensure that employees are working when they are supposed to be. The effort comes as the MTA and other law enforcement agencies continue to investigate alleged excessive overtime reported among some workers, including at the LIRR.

The MTA has said it aims to have all employees using the time clocks by next month.

The first incident involving a time clock, cut wires at an LIRR employee facility in Jamaica, occurred June 4, according to the MTA.

“The ongoing destruction of these valuable pieces of MTA property is absolutely unacceptable, and an affront to riders, taxpayers and innocent employees,” Pokorny said. “My office will not stop investigating each incident until we find those responsible, hold them accountable, and put internal controls in place to mitigate the likelihood of this happening again.”

MTA chairman Patrick Foye said in a statement that the agency will work with Pokorny’s office “to identify locations at risk for repeated incidents, to prioritize future security camera installations and monitor installed biometric clocks in a cost-effective manner.” 

ALLEGED VANDALISM INCIDENTS

The MTA inspector general's office said it has found nine incidents of vandalism against biometric time clocks in the past seven months. The inspector general said there were several incidents of broken clocks it did not record as acts of vandalism; one incident is still under review.

Westchester train yard

On Dec. 5, a senior director notified the security operations center that the Kronos biometric time clock located at the old Tower was vandalized.

Concourse rail yard

On Dec. 4, a shattered time clock was discovered. The clock is in the concourse shop outside a supervisor’s office. This incident marks the second time it was vandalized.

53rd and 5th station

On Nov. 20, in the facility room at the subway station, a worker in the MTA's IT department discovered the fingerprint scanner of a time clock had been pried open and dislodged from the machine, and wires were pulled out to disconnect the device from the internet.

130 Livingston St.

On Oct. 24, on the ninth floor, a New York City Transit employee discovered the screen of a time clock had been shattered.

M.J. Quill Bus Depot

On Oct. 23, an adhesive substance was placed on the fingerprint reader of a time clock, making the machine unusable.

14th Street station (between 7th Avenue and 8th Avenue passageway)

On July 12, a time clock in the Third Rail operations facility was installed but not yet operable. On July 15, when the electrician returned to the facility to complete the installation and testing of the time clock, he discovered cables in the ceiling connected to the clock had been cut. Wires within the clock also had been cut.

Concourse rail yard

On July 3, a time clock directly outside a supervisor’s office was shattered.

38th Street train yard, Brooklyn

On June 7, the display screen of a time clock at Joe Murphy Master Signal Tower appeared shattered, although the mechanism appeared to be operational.

LIRR Jamaica station

On June 4, at the eastbound usher’s booth on the platform, a severed wire was discovered by a service technician preparing to install a time clock.

UNDER REVIEW

LIRR Forest Hills station

On Dec. 10, a worker in the MTA's IT department discovered the screen of a time clock was smashed.

SOURCE: MTA Inspector General's Office

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