OT spending drops slightly, to $1.1B — but is still off the rails at the MTA

OT spending drops slightly, to $1.1B — but is still off the rails at the MTA

03/13/2021

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Overtime spending at the MTA dropped by a measly $122 million in 2020, according to a new report — but that didn’t stop transit brass from touting their “progress.”

MTA Chairman Pat Foye praised the latest figures, even though the $1.1 billion the authority spent on overtime remained significantly higher than the $849 million it spent on OT in 2014.

“The MTA remains laser-focused on advancing a range of initiatives aimed at driving down controllable overtime and addressing potential abuses as quickly and efficiently as possible and this work will continue in earnest,” Foye said in a statement.

“The overtime system serves an important role in keeping the system moving, but it is incumbent upon MTA leadership to guard against abuse.”

Agency officials committed to reduce overtime expenses two years ago after The Post’s reporting showed they’d become a growing burden on the cash-strapped agency’s budget.

Alleged Long Island Rail Road overtime cheat Frank Pizzonia was the MTA’s seventh-highest OT earner last year, the report showed.

Pizzonia, who faces federal charges of fraud and conspiracy along with four coworkers, raked in $221,766 for extra time in 2020, about 73 percent of his $302,025 salary, according to an MTA report released Friday.

MTA Inspector General Carolyn Pokorny has blamed the out-of-control spending on an OT “honor system” that allowed grifters to walk away with thousands of dollars in pay for time they did not actually work.

Pizzonia, the son of reputed mobster Dominick “Skinny Dom” Pizzonia, was suspended without pay on Feb. 4 after federal prosecutors indicted him and four others, including the MTA’s 2018 “Overtime King” Thomas Caputo.

The crew allegedly “worked together to fraudulently claim pay for hours they did not work by, among other things, repeatedly covering for one another’s absences from work while nonetheless understanding that time sheets including the unworked hours would be submitted,” court papers say.

Five other LIRR workers besides Pizzonia made 2020’s list of 10 highest overtime earners — falling in at numbers one, two three, four and six. Metro-North and MTA police accounted for the rest of the list.

At the same time, former MTA Chief Operating Officer Mario Peloquin topped the list of highest paid MTA employees. Peloquin, who was in charge of the overtime reform efforts before he quit last month, earned $411,969 in 2020.

After Peloquin, the list of highest paid MTA employees includes — in order — five police officers, Foye, Chief Transformation Officer Anthony McCord and the number two and number three highest LIRR overtime earners, Edward Popolizio and Patrick Damboise.

Popolizio and Damboise earned around $344,000 each last year, about 70 percent of it from overtime.

Pizzonia’s attorney did not return an emailed request for comment.

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