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Letter: MTA, LIRR need to undo the status quo

A nonprofit report on payroll payments of the

A nonprofit report on payroll payments of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority found that overtime spending for the LIRR increased $50 million, almost 30 percent, from 2017 to 2018. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Employee overtime and pension abuse have gone on at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Long Island Rail Road for years. It is evident that the agencies do not have an up-to-date payroll system to flag such abuses. Supervisors who sign off on overtime abuses need to be held accountable. So do those who manage agency budgets, along with MTA board members and senior officials.

Diogenes is still searching for someone to represent riders and taxpayers who foot the bills. Union leaders always out-negotiate management at contract time [“LIRR needs labor leeway to avoid red ink,” Editorial, May 3].

This year, the MTA should insist on more flexible work assignments, reduced pay increases, and higher employee contributions to pensions and health care. Pension calculations should not include overtime. More work should go to private contractors and part-time employees.

Will elected officials who depend on union endorsements, campaign contributions and volunteers stand up against their benefactors and openly support MTA management in the talks? Will riders put up with potential work slowdowns, sickouts, service disruptions and/or strikes? Without contract changes, the system will continue to be the status quo.

Larry Penner,

Great Neck

Editor’s note: The writer is a transit historian.