The LIRR’s culture of fraud

MTA Inspector General Carolyn Pokorny this week provided fresh proof that the roots of the Long Island Rail Road’s overtime-fraud problems run deep.

Looking at “questionable” OT pay for LIRR foremen, she found at least four who logged travel time to and from overtime shifts as part of their extra pay, possibly earning as much as $146,800 from a practice that, she noted, is “very costly and wasteful” and forbidden by their union contract.

Having found similar patterns in other employees’ records, Pokorny suggests the abuse is “widespread.” Worse, managers turned a blind eye to the scam, allowing “a small group of workers to take advantage at taxpayer expense.”

All this is coming to light in the wake of the Empire Center’s huge public service of digging up the evidence of outrageous LIRR pensions, driven in good part by vast overtime earnings in some workers’ final years on the job.

Workers like ex-foreman Raymond Murphy, who scored $280,000 in OT — while often staying home. He’s also one of the travel-time game-players exposed in the latest IG report.

Notably, these scams have surfaced since a previous one — nearly every LIRR retiree qualifying for a disability pension — got squashed. Which suggests that, without a major attitude adjustment for the railroad’s management, some other fraud will take its place.

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