NEW YORK (WABC) -- A general inspector for New York City Transit was fired after he was caught flying to his Florida home during work hours.
Authorities said Monday the supervisor was tasked with overseeing the maintenance of escalators and elevators in the subway system for a large chunk of Manhattan.
"Elevators and escalators are a critical component of our transportation system, especially for people with mobility challenges who depend on them," said MTA Inspector General Daniel G. Cort. "Managers who oversee the maintenance of elevators and escalators perform a crucial role and cannot shirk their responsibilities. This individual has now been held accountable for his failure to perform his duties and for his dishonesty."
He was improperly paid for time he spent traveling from New York to Florida. Time records reflected that he claimed to be doing "fieldwork" when he was on a flight to Florida.
It is also alleged that he would not swipe his ID at the time clock at the end of his shift and would falsely report his time out for that day directly to his supervisor.
"This theft of time undermined the public's trust as well as the trust of NYC Transit, and is not representative of the thousands of hardworking transit workers who move New Yorkers every single day," said NYC Transit President Richard Davey. "For those reasons, this employee is no longer with the agency."
Riders Eyewitness News reporter NJ Burkett spoke with said it's appalling.
"I don't like that at all. That's just being deceiving to people," one subway rider said. "So yeah, I don't like that at all."
Investigators say the scheme amounted to 49 hours over nine days and cost the agency roughly $3,000.
But one critic says it is part of a larger issue at the MTA.
"This was not some hourly worker just sneaking around. This was someone who is trusted to supervise 21 other people at the MTA," said Ken Girardin, Research Director Empire Center for Public Policy.
It all comes at a time when the agency is asking riders and drivers to pay more, with higher fares and tolls and a new congestion pricing plan in Manhattan intended to maintain and modernize mass transit.
"Last year, there were more than 800 MTA employees that more than doubled their pay with overtime," Girardin said. "Most of it was done, we think, legitimately. There wasn't a lot of fraud. But when you have that many people legitimately doubling their pay with overtime. It makes it a lot harder to find the bad apples."
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