Metropolitan Transportation Authority Metro-North Railroad


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NYS Comptroller


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Metropolitan Transportation Authority: Metro-North Railroad
Forensic Audit of Payments to On-Board Services Managers

Issued: June 14, 2012
Link to full audit report 2011-S-35
Link to the 90-day response

To determine whether the employees in Metro North's On-Board Services Unit (Unit) fulfilled their duties and performed the assigned tasks for which they were paid—specifically, riding trains in order to observe and report on the performance of train crews. Our audit covered the period January 1, 2009 through June 30, 2011.

The Metro-North Railroad (Metro-North), a constituent of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), established the Unit in 2004 to monitor train crew performance in such areas as fare collection and passenger safety. The Unit consists of a supervisor and five employees. Its annual employee compensation costs $832,676. Unit staff members are expected to complete and document at least six train rides daily.

Key Findings

  • While Unit staff members are required to monitor the performance of train crews, they have not been accountable for their own work performance and time and attendance.
  • Of the work periods we examined, the Unit staff members failed to document 29 percent of the rides they were required to complete, raising questions about whether the rides were actually taken.
  • We estimate that four Unit staff members are being paid an excess of $170,000 annually for work that might not have been performed.
  • In violation of Metro-North policy, the Assistant Vice President responsible for the Unit did not disclose the referral of a relative who was hired in the Unit over more qualified candidates. Once hired, the relative received special privileges and remained in the direct line of supervision by the Assistant Vice President, in possible violation of the New York State Public Officers Law.

Key Recommendations

  • Investigate the productivity, time, and attendance of Unit staff and determine whether any salary payments need to be recouped or discipline is appropriate.
  • Determine whether the current Unit staffing is justified and necessary.
  • Strengthen supervision over the Unit and address the other risk factors associated with Unit

Other Related Audits/Reports of Interest

MTA/Metro-North Railroad: Forensic Audit of Select Payroll and Overtime Practices and Related Transactions Report 2010-S-60
MTA: Management and Control of Employee Overtime Costs Report 2009-S-88

State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director: Frank Patone
Phone:(212) 417-5200; Email:
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236