Another hitch for the MTA on cost savings.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has set another round of hearings to talk about layoffs of station agents and closures of subway booths, but it isn’t happy to do so.
It comes on orders of a judge.
While MTA heads, starting with Chief Executive Jay Walder, have announced cuts, adjustments and other belt-tightening that would cover more than half of a $373 million shortfall in its operating budget, the agency has run into problems. As the Associated Press reports, Walder says that, no matter what the outcome of the hearings, the delay in the lay-offs is costing $40,000 a day.
And remember, the MTA still has not come to a final decision on that plan to end free subway and bus rides for New York City school children. The agency is waiting to see if the state and city will restore or boost their contributions, which had covered less and less of the program over the years.
Here’s the latest AP story on the newest court ruling, followed by a statement from the MTA. First, the article…
NEW YORK (AP) — New York’s transit agency will hold a new round of public hearings to discuss layoffs and subway booth closures.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s board voted Wednesday to hold the hearings next month.
A judge ordered the agency to hold new hearings before firing any subway station employees and to reopen dozens of subway booths.
The MTA will also appeal the judge’s ruling.
The MTA fired more than 200 subway station employees last month. It had planned to fire 200 more by the end of June, citing budget problems.
MTA Chairman Jay Walder said further delaying the layoffs was costing $40,000 every day.
He said the appeal of the judge’s decision would trigger an automatic stay of the court’s order and stop the reopening of booths.
And now the MTA statement:
MTA Statement on Subway Station Booth and Kiosk Closures
The MTA continues to disagree with the court’s ruling that additional public hearings are required before the station booths and kiosks can be closed, and that the kiosks closed in May need to be re-opened. These closures were necessitated by the MTA’s dire financial situation, and the need for the savings they generate remains.
We believe the prior public hearings fully conformed with the legal requirements and will be appealing the judge’s order as soon as it is entered. The appeal triggers an automatic stay of the lower court’s order, and the MTA therefore should not be required to re-open the recently-closed kiosks at this time.
At the same time as the MTA pursues the appeal, we will be proceeding on a parallel track with the public hearing process. With that in mind, an MTA Board meeting is scheduled for tomorrow at which the Board will be asked to authorize the public hearing process to move this vital cost-saving initiative forward.