My office recently audited the Long Island Rail Road’s management of dozens of unexpected delays, and we found it came up short in communicating to riders [“State comptroller audit: Info lacking for LIRR riders,” News, March 12]. It also struggled to provide alternate transportation and ensure a smooth return to normal service. In many cases, it simply failed to follow its own playbook. The result is increased frustration for riders, which could have been avoided.
LIRR President Phillip Eng took exception to the audit, writing to Newsday that the incidents, which ranged from 2015 through July 2017, were old [“Old data belie LIRR progress since May,” Letters, March 13]. His complaint came as a surprise, given that my auditors had more recent data from 2018 that showed the same shortcomings, but did not include the information at LIRR’s request.
These more recent service delays were also part of my earlier report, issued in August, which focused on similar service problems during the winter of 2017-18. When the LIRR asked that we not repeat them in the latest report, we agreed as a courtesy. I can only imagine that LIRR did not complain about the age of the data in its formal response, which is part of the audit, because it was aware of this. But to complain about it after we issued the audit is misleading and wrong.
A key finding in both reports is that LIRR does not keep track of — nor follow up on — the “lessons learned” from service disruptions. Learning from mistakes is one of the recommendations my office has made to LIRR in our reports. I hope they take it to heart.
Eng is working hard to solve difficult challenges and improve service. Honest assessments of performance are vital to helping LIRR, and the MTA as a whole, improve. I’ll continue to examine MTA operations closely. I hope these reports, even when the findings are uncomfortable, are received for what they are — honest and informed assessments.
Editor’s note: The writer is New York State comptroller.
Overcome violence with love worldwide
It is difficult to comprehend how any individual can have such hatred in his heart to commit the horrific acts seen in Christchurch, New Zealand [“Terror at mosques in New Zealand,” News, March 16].
The Suffolk County Human Rights Commission, the Anti-Bias Task Force and the Center for Social Justice and Human Understanding at Suffolk County Community College condemn this terrorist act of wanton murder and all acts of hatred and prejudice committed by individuals and groups anywhere in the world. We pledge to continue to work for the day when hatred shall be removed from the minds and hearts of humans and understanding, respect, and love will be the banner that all will hold high.
Rabbi Steven Moss,
Editor’s note: The writer is chairman of the Suffolk County Human Rights Commission.
The Suffolk Board of Rabbis believes that there is no place for ignorance and hate that lead to senseless violence and objectionable speech aimed at people who are not like ourselves or do not share religious beliefs.
On March 14, rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip at Israel. We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Israel who again find themselves under assault by terrorist threats.
The board joins with other Jewish organizations in condemning anti-Semitic statements by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.). We call for a return to normalcy and decency in political speech in our country on all sides.
Finally, the board strongly condemns the attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, resulting in a massive and tragic loss of life. We stand with the Muslim community on Long Island and around the world as it mourns during this terrible time.
Elie Wiesel wrote, “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”
Rabbi Aaron Benson,
Port Jefferson Station
Editor’s note: The writer is president of the Suffolk Board of Rabbis.
Professional engineer should head the DPW
The March 18 “Spin Cycle” story “Engineering license key” describes Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone’s desire to change the county charter to remove the requirement that the commissioner of public works have a state professional engineer’s license. Bellone intends to place county Parks Commissioner Philip Berdolt, a “highly skilled manager with a proven track record,” in the job. Berdolt does not have a professional engineer’s license.
I am a retired consulting engineer and a licensed professional engineer, and I object to this charter change.
The commissioner of public works deals with engineering issues daily. Many are complex and require expertise that only a licensed professional engineer can provide. Decisions on these issues could be overruled by a commissioner unfamiliar with their engineering requirements. In no case should a non-licensed engineer be allowed to supervise any engineer’s work.
If Bellone wants Berdolt in the position for his management skills, I suggest he hire him as deputy commissioner who can work alongside licensed professional engineers.