Tuesday, February 23, 2010

MTA: 1,000 jobs to be cut to fill latest budget gap

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New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced Tuesday that it plans to cut at least 1,000 positions in order to cover its latest budget gap of $378 million. MTA said it would eliminate “more than 600 represented and non-represented administrative postions,” while also moving to lay off “up to 500 NYC Transit station agents.”

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MTA’s public statement said the cuts “represent 15% of administrative payroll across the MTA, with deeper cuts at MTA headquarters.” An in-house MTA memorandum offered a darker picture, suggesting headquarters staff could be reduced “by as much as 20%. In implementing the staffing reductions, the MTA will comply with applicable statutory and collective bargaining obligations covering its employees. In addition, non-represented employees who resign will be offered a severance package.”

The agency said station agent positions affected originallyto be eliminated  through attrition.But MTA Chairman and CEO Jay Walder said, “The State’s economic crisis demands that the MTA move quickly and decisively to cut costs, and that is exactly whatwe are doing.” Walder, painting the layoffs as “painful,” nonetheless also described them as “the beginning of a comprehensive overhaulof how the MTA does business.” The CEO said the revamp includes “reducing overtime, consolidating redundant functions, and working with suppliers to lower costs.”

The current $378 million budget gap follows an earlier shortfall of $383 million. MTA last December enacted an earlier found of service cuts and administrative reductions to close that gap.