Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North officials have been lax in their oversight of federal stimulus funds, according to auditreports released Monday by State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.
Among other things, a lack of oversight has allowed some Metro-North employees to be paid overtime for traveling to project sites and getting washed up for work, while one LIRR track foreman claimed 24 consecutive hours of overtime, the reports said.
“There’s significant room for improvement in how Metro-North and LIRR monitor the hours their employees work,” DiNapoli said in a statement.
Transit officials took issue with how the reports characterized the audits' findings, particularly those which stated, "Metro-North officials could better monitor their employees to ensure that Recovery Act funds are used for authorized purposes and instances of fraud, waste and abuse are mitigated."
In an addendum, DiNapoli was careful to note that no instances of fraud had been uncovered.
The other report reached a similar conclusion about the LIRR's handling of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, noting that some supervisors who prepared time sheets for crew members relied on schedules instead of reporting the hours the employees actually worked.
The audit reports set out action plans with recommendations for better oversight, and the LIRR appeared to be on board. The railroad will soon be requiring employees to punch in with clocks that scan their fingerprints.
"The installation of biometric clocks, scheduled to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2014, will further enhance the controls already in place in this area," LIRR President Helena E. Williams, wrote in a response.