LIRR Failed to Monitor Overtime, Will Use Fingerprint Time Clocks

By Catherine Yang, Epoch Times

Long Island Rail Road workers will start punching in and out via fingerprint, using a biometric time clock system.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials say this has nothing to do with time-sheet mismanagement, according to NY Daily News, but the new measure came as Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released LIRR and Metro-North audit notes Jan. 27.

According to DiNapoli, LIRR and Metro-North have failed to properly manage overtime pay with funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

“There’s significant room for improvement in how Metro-North and LIRR monitor the hours their employees work,” DiNapoli said in a statement. “Federal money came to New York state to help improve our transportation network and we must be good stewards of those funds. The MTA should take a harder look at wasteful spending and work to tighten up its operations.”

For instance, the “lax” management allowed for abuses like logging nearly three hours of overtime for washing up or changing clothes. DiNapoli also cited an unannounced floor check where a conductor was not at his station in Tarrytown when a passenger train came through.

The ten highest overtime workers worked a total of 183 overtime hours over 54 instances in the third quarter of 2010. Out of those hours, 136 were not subject to approval.

DiNapoli recommended Metro-North require electronic sign-in/sign-out, monitored attendance records, monitoring conductors, and policies for overtime approval and pre-approval justification.

The comptroller also recommended LIRR establish a process for approving overtime, monitoring employees to ensure they are paid for hours work and not working without off-duty rest periods, and improve communication.

Currently, LIRR track gangs don’t punch any time cards, and foremen file attendance. 

According to the audit, one foreman claimed to have worked 24 consecutive hours. 

The new fingerprinting system LIRR is looking at would be used in 80 facilities where about 1,700 track gangs and foremen clock in and out, says NY Daily News. The project will cost $924,000.