Over the last week or so Mayor Bloomberg has shared his feelings about the MTA’s lack of fiscal responsibility. However in the midst of these feelings came a suggestion to give raises to current MTA engineers as they do not get paid enough. Kathleen Lucadamo of the New York Daily News filed the report:
Mayor Bloomberg favors trimming MTA spending, but Friday he called for the cash-starved agency to give workers a raise.
“The people who work for the MTA, we don’t pay them enough,” Bloomberg declared on WOR radio.
The mayor blamed construction cost overruns, in part, on underpaid engineers who have to haggle with their higher paid, and presumably, more experienced counterparts.
“If you want to have the best engineers to negotiate with the best engineers in the construction company, you are going to have to pay comparable salaries,” he said.
An MTA spokesman agreed that modest pay makes hiring tough, but stopped short of supporting raises.
“We certainly agree that it is a challenge in the public sector to attract the best talent when you have limited resources, but I think we have an extremely talented group of engineers and planners at our capital construction company,” MTA spokesman Jeremy Soffin said.
“We work as hard as we can to make those jobs appealing, but obviously we are limited by being in the public sector.”
Bloomberg’s comments came a day after he scolded the state-run MTA for proposing two fare hikes without finding alternative revenue or cutting its budget by 1.5%.
The MTA has called for an 8% fare hike next July and another 5% jump in 2011 to close a $700 million shortfall.
I understand the thought process of Mayor Bloomberg in terms of the never ending public vs private sector earnings war. However at a time when the MTA’s finances are in shambles, I find it fiscally irresponsible to even suggest raises for any employee. I would think of all people such a strong businessman such as Bloomberg would understand how now is not the time for this. Maybe he should practice what he preaches before coming down on the MTA for their fiscal irresponsibility. While he is at it, he could stop diverting from one of the real culprits here, the inadequate funding from the city towards its transit infrastructure.
xoxo Transit Blogger