Well the form reversal did not last long as Staten Island is once again being seen in a bad light in the world of mass transit. The calling out sick controversy continues to hang over the borough’s head as a second bus dispatcher has been caught calling in sick while actually being out of state. Pete Donohue & Jill Colvin of the New York Daily News have more in this report:
Staten Island is turning into Sickout Island.
Another bus dispatcher from Staten Island has been caught calling in sick from a vacation spot – this time Puerto Rico, transit officials confirmed.
Bus dispatcher James Padilla was in the sunny Caribbean – about 1,600 miles away from his Staten Island depot – when he phoned to say he was too ill for duty on Thursday, April 1, and Friday, April 2, MTA officials said.
His scheduled vacation began the following Monday, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Padilla is the latest Staten Island bus driver accused of abusing sick and family leave time, forcing the authority to staff jobs with overtime and draining millions in much-needed revenue.
Last week, the Daily News reported that another Staten Island dispatcher, Giovanni Bonanno, 62, abruptly retired after bosses accused him of calling in sick last month from Florida.
The News has also reported that 21% of bus division workers at the Castleton depot on Staten Island took sick or leave time as a major storm approached Feb. 9.
“Most of our employees are unsung heroes, like the Staten Island bus operator who pulled a man from a burning car this week,” MTA Chairman Jay Walder said Friday. “The only way to protect them and taxpayers is to go after the people who abuse the system.”
Padilla, 41, couldn’t be reached for comment, but the agency said he conceded he was neither ill nor at home on the two days in question.
Click here for the complete report.
This issue is clearly getting out of hand. I am starting to wonder how long this abuse has been going on & why is it only be caught now? The fact that two people were caught doing this makes me think this is a loophole that has been exploited many times before. Hopefully the MTA cracks down on this so we do not continue to read report after report about this fraud.
xoxo Transit Blogger