It is a new era of transformation for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), and one that has revitalized the core mission of my Office as well. There are vast opportunities for the Office of the MTA Inspector General (OIG) to help the MTA run safer, smoother, and in a more cost-effective way.
As the MTA Inspector General, the watchdog tasked with monitoring this complex mechanism, these rapidly unfolding changes are why I will hold myself and my Office to a new and unprecedented standard of openness: transparency will be the touchstone of my tenure. My Office will work to ensure the public trust and establish a system of public disclosure, public participation, and collaboration. I hope this new policy of openness and sunlight will strengthen the MTA and promote efficiency and effectiveness in ways we have never achieved in the past.
"It is time to dismantle government secrecy ... It is time to begin building the supports for the era of openness that is already upon us."
– Senator Patrick Moynihan,
Namesake of the Moynihan Train Station
Our mission at the OIG takes a two-pronged approach: we conduct audits to help MTA systems work in the safest, most efficient ways and we conduct investigations to root out and deter acts of fraud, misconduct, and abuse. In the spirit of our new era of openness, we are working to make our audits and investigations a matter of easily accessible public record by posting reports in a timely manner on our website while amplifying our findings through public engagements, social media, and other means. Additionally, at the behest of good government groups, this annual report contains statistical highlights about our work in 2019, providing a key insight into the OIG’s impact. I believe a crucial component towards helping the MTA solve many of its issues is to give our riders and taxpayers the information they need to become confident stakeholders.
The new policy of sunlight is already paying off. In 2019, MTA OIG received a record number of complaints. We also conducted more site visits than ever before, and released groundbreaking audits that exposed dangerous working conditions, led to reforms on chronic overtime abusers, and called out the MTA for wasting and mismanaging millions of dollars.
This work cannot be achieved on our own. Over the years we have forged relationships with numerous investigative, prosecutorial, and law enforcement agencies on the federal, state, and local levels. We have partnered with countless MTA staff and managers who have helped us find solutions to complex issues. We are always ready to listen to straphangers, MTA employees, commuters, and other members of the public whom this vast transportation network is designed to serve.
Let me say this as simply as I can: my priority is to serve the riders and taxpayers, and fiercely defend their right to get where they need to go, safely and efficiently.
Very truly yours,