Report: Up $40 million since 2013

Overtime payments for Metro-North employees jumped to $125 million in 2018, more than $40 million more than five years ago, according to an analysis by the Empire Center, a think tank based in Albany.

Payroll costs for the entire Metropolitan Transportation Authority rose $418 million in 2018, or $82 million more than the agency has said it hopes to raise each year with recent fare and toll hikes.

At Metro-North, which includes trains on the Hudson Line that connects the Highlands to Poughkeepsie and Grand Central Station, 77 employees collected more than $100,000 in overtime each, and 125 employees collected enough overtime to more than double their salaries, according to the Empire Center. Metro-North’s 7,208 employees earned an average of $95,778 last year, it said.

The three highest-paid hourly Metro-North employees were Richard Bourt Jr., a track supervisor, at $311,706; Harry Dobson, a structures supervisor, at $301,626; and Eduardo Vargas, a machinist, at $296,367. In the salaried management ranks, the highest-paid employees were Catherine Rinaldi, agency president, at $297,253; Albert Santini, chief engineer, at $263,250; and Walter Burger III, stations and facilities department director, at $250,075.

As a result of the Empire Center report, MTA Chairman Patrick Foye launched an investigation. “Some overtime is to be expected at any public transit agency, in order to keep up with critical repairs and maintenance, especially at a time of extraordinary work being done around the system,” he said in a statement. “But the accumulation of so many hours of overtime raises serious questions, including potential safety issues such as exhaustion.”

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