Uncivil Servants

New Yorkers famously have a reputation for being short on tact and civil servants famously have a reputation for the slack quality of service.  Put them together and it seems you get the Port Authority and MTA toll collectors.  Among the complaints tendered by commuters:

  • A furious toll worker counts out 44 singles when he gets a $50 bill at the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge.
  • A driver with a faulty E-Z tag is called a “punk-ass jerk” by a toll collector.
  • Another tells a driver who asks why she looks so sad, “Because of assholes like you. I don’t like you assholes.”
  • A  driver hands the collector a $10 bill. The collector returns it, claiming there’s a rip. The customer fishes out another $10 bill and asks, “Is this better?” “Fuck you,” the worker replies.

But why are they so grouchy?  Sure they get paid up to $62,000 for talking this way to commuters, but it’s not as though they have a bleak future ahead of them:

In an era of generous municipal salaries and union-friendly overtime rules, it may not come as a complete shock that there are thousands of Metropolitan Transportation Authority employees — 8,074, to be precise — who made $100,000 or more last year.

The usual top-level managers are included in that list, but so are dozens of lower-level employees, including conductors, police officers and engineers, many of whom pulled in six figures in overtime and retirement benefits alone.

One of those workers, a Long Island Rail Road conductor who retired in April, made $239,148, about $4,000 more than the authority’s chief financial officer, according to payroll data released on Wednesday…

Two car repairmen at the L.I.R.R. and 12 police officers assigned to the authority’s bridges and tunnels, some of whom earned more than double their base salaries, were among the 50 employees at the authority who collected $200,000 or more, the data show.

Mr. Redmond, the retired conductor, was the eighth-highest paid employee in the entire authority, ranking 16 spots higher than his railroad’s executive vice president. He earned $67,772 in base salary and $67,000 in overtime, and collected nearly $100,000 in unused sick days and vacation time upon retirement, railroad officials said.

The second-highest paid employee at the agency’s bridge and tunnel division, after its president, was Walter Stock, a lieutenant who earned $226,383, more than twice his base pay of $90,000, according to the data.

At No. 17 was Dominick J. Masiello, an L.I.R.R. locomotive engineer, who earned about $75,000 in base salary and overtime payments of $52,000.

He also received $94,600 in “penalty payments,” which railroad officials said stemmed from a contractual rule that requires engineers who work in a storage yard to be paid extra if they are assigned to move a locomotive to a nearby maintenance facility or if they are asked to operate a train outside of the yard.

Let’s not forget that all this smoosh these (unionized) employees strategically earned will be invaluable in working out their generous pension payments, which the taxpayers are stuck with for the rest of their lives.

(Links courtesy of the always amusing Bridge and Tunnel Club blog)

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