The MTA’s well known slogan is “If You See Something, Say Something” & it is one that their Inspector General Barry Kluger continues to live by. His latest scathing report focuses on how the MTA’s decision during an arbitration process cost taxpayers nearly $3 million. Tom Namako of the New York Post has more:
Top MTA brass repeatedly bungled negotiations with their largest union, committing basic errors of common sense that resulted in bloated legal fees and cost taxpayers up to another $3 million, according to a scathing report released yesterday.
A lawyer representing arbitrator John Zuccotti in 2009 contract talks charged $700 an hour even though the MTA is entitled to a nonprofit rate, and included $11,295 for “business meals.”
MTA Inspector General Barry Kluger pinned the blame on agency officials, who failed to get a written price for Zuccotti’s team before the talks began.
“These are public funds,” said deputy IG Michael Boxer. “No one hires a lawyer without asking what it’s going to cost them.”
MTA officials scrambled to get a rate out of Lawrence Baer, Zuccotti’s counsel during the arbitration, but he repeatedly refused to answer e-mails.
The final bill for Zuccotti’s team was $288,469 — including $117,320 for Baer — to be paid equally by the MTA and the Transport Workers Union. The nonprofit rate is 20 percent less — about $58,000 in savings, Kluger said.
MTA officials froze payments to Zuccotti, while Kluger calls for an itemized bill.
Click here for the complete report.
I browsed the Inspector General’s website & could not find the report or I would have linked it. Regardless of what the rest of the report contains, this snafu is just one of the many things the MTA needs to clean up. Poor choices that cost themselves & taxpayers are inexcusable.
xoxo Transit Blogger