MTA track inspectors ‘skipped safety inspections, filed false reports to cover their tracks,’ investigation finds

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Elevated subway tracks in Brooklyn

A man wearing a mask walks beneath elevated subway tracks that cast a pattern of light on a Brooklyn street during the coronavirus pandemic, Monday, April 6, 2020 in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

NEW YORK — Investigators found a number of New York City Transit Track Inspectors falsified reports and skipped inspections, officials said Thursday.

MTA Inspector General Carolyn Pokorny launched an investigation after chunks of debris fell from elevated tracks repeatedly, including a piece from a subway track that pierced the front windshield of a car as it was being driven in Queens. Nearly $16 million was spent on netting for the underside of elevated tracks .

“It is appalling that so many track inspectors, on so many occasions, skipped safety inspections, filed false reports to cover their tracks, and then lied to OIG investigators about it,” Pokorny said. “Management needs to utilize a technology that will ensure supervisors can verify when inspectors do their job – and when they do not.”

Pokorny’s office alerted NYC Transit to seven inspectors engaged in “widespread deception”; those inspectors were charged by NYC Transit. The agency also set up procedures ensuring workers conduct their inspections.

MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan said the agency has “zero tolerance” for actions impacting rider safety.

“These inspectors violated the public’s trust, they were caught and immediately removed from service, and as the MTAIG points out, they are paying severe penalties for those violations,” he said.

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