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Letter: Expensive overtime causes controversy at MTA and LIRR

An LIRR train at the Freeport station on

An LIRR train at the Freeport station on June 21, 2017. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Another agency has joined the investigations into possible overtime abuse at the Long Island Rail Road [“Queens DA office joins LIRR OT probe,” News, May 15].

Where were all these agencies (and the governor) when riders received fare hike after fare hike over all these years? Did anyone question where this money was going and audit the books? And how about the employees responsible for processing payroll? Did anyone bring to management’s attention the enormous overtime dollars being paid?

The top earners (and others) should not be allowed to pad their pensions by outrageous amounts. Employees of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority should not ride the gravy train on the backs of commuters.

Liz Falcone,

  Glen Head

I am sick and tired of all the Long Island Rail Road bashing in the press. I think it all started right after fare hikes at Easter. The public seems to think that the employees get raises every time the fares go up. Untrue!

Also, when did it become a crime to get paid for working overtime? The LIRR has taken on a lot of projects that are on deadlines. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is pushing to get them finished on time, so if there are problems and setbacks, overtime is needed. Workers who stay to work overtime are on the job for many hours away from their homes and families. They earn that overtime money! They shouldn’t be harassed about it.

The public complains when the LIRR is in disrepair, and the system is outdated, causing delays. But then people have a fit when service is disrupted while work is done to update facilities, tracks and systems.

I retired from the LIRR last year and was blessed to have worked for the railroad for 30 years in jobs ranging from station cleaner to carpenter. A lot of good people there work hard every day and do their jobs very well.

Kevin Mackey,

  West Islip

Free community college makes sense

Columnist William F.B. O’Reilly mischaracterizes the issue of deficit spending [“Our reckless spending spree,” Opinion, May 3].

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and other Democratic candidates for president have advocated for free college to help those who aspire to improve their lives by providing a path to higher education. A better, and less costly, approach is free community college, which is being implemented in Tennessee and Chicago — with early encouraging results, although more remains to be done.

More important, the 2017 tax cuts for big corporations and wealthy Americans are draining revenue from government coffers, revenue that could be used to improve educational opportunities for middle- and lower-income Americans. Our young people are our future, and they need college degrees or trades if we are going to compete in a global market.

Miriam Chua,


Lots of plastic garbage all around

The ban on plastic bags statewide starting March 1 is something I support [“Bag ban debate,” News, May 12]. Under the new state law, cities and counties can decide whether to charge consumers 5 cents for paper bags. Although I would like to see everyone use reusable bags, the new law is a big step in the right direction.

As a Boy Scout in my community, I have participated in several events where we go to a park, lake area or beach and do a cleanup. People would be amazed at the amount of plastic bags and plastic materials we typically pick up. They are stuck in marshes, low-water areas, bushes and trees.

If more people saw what is out there, I think more would be in full support of the plastic bag ban.

Jack Haggerty,


Cut carbon emissions from transportation

Transportation is a tough nut to crack when it comes to reducing dangerous greenhouse gas emissions [“Lawmaker: No ‘middle ground’ on climate woes,” News, May 15]. But we don’t have to wait for all the durable cars to be replaced by electric vehicles. We need to shift away from single-driver vehicles and embrace public transit and other low-carbon solutions.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has taken on switching our electric grid to renewable power, closing down coal plants and ramping up wind and solar projects. He has not put the same effort into reducing transportation emissions.

Yes, we need financial incentives to buy electric vehicles and a state-wide charging infrastructure. But beyond that, let the governor create a widespread public education campaign about the benefits of low carbon transit. Improve mass transit and access to walking and bike lanes. Zone for density near transit stops.

Let us decarbonize our method of transit long before 2040, when the last drivers will finally rid themselves of their gasoline-guzzling cars.

Jay Blackman,

  East Meadow

July Fourth speech a campaign event

President Donald Trump wants to change the venue of fireworks to celebrate the Fourth of July in the nation’s capital [“The year July Fourth became a dud,” Opinion, May 18]. He wants to give a speech at the Lincoln Memorial. Will anyone be surprised to see videos and photos of the event in his 2020 campaign?

Margaret Dunn,

  St. James