peloquin

A BIT TOO REMOTE, EH?: While the Metropolitan Transportation Authority contends that Chief Operating Officer Mario Peloquin has continued to work effectively from his home in Canada in recent months, the Subway/Surface Supervisors Association said his absence has been notable and resented by workers who continue risking their health at transit facilities.

The union that represents many Metropolitan Transportation Authority supervisors is calling for the resignation of Mario Peloquin, the agency's $325,000-a-year chief operating officer, claiming he has spent extended periods of time with his family in Canada rather than devoting full energy to his job.

Mike Carrube, president of the Subway/Surface Supervisors Association, said he was outraged to read in the Jan. 17 Daily News that Mr. Peloquin "spent most of September, October, November and December with his family north of the border" while union members continued to risk their health, with a dozen of them among the 130-plus MTA deaths tied to the coronavirus.

 

'AWOL During Crisis'

While MTA Chairman Patrick Foye defended Mr. Peloquin, Mr. Carrube asserted, "All my members, really all union members, are all out there and we are getting the brunt of this while Foye's Number 2 was AWOL in a time not only of crisis for the MTA, but for the City and the State of New York. I am calling for his resignation, and if Pat Foye doesn't do something, I am calling for Pat Foye to resign. Governor Cuomo should really be involved with this—they work for him."

Mr. Foye responded in a statement, "Since the pandemic hit in March, Mario has spent the bulk of his time in New York and at the office, serving as a key player in our response, including leading the effort for our plans to prepare for and combat the second wave. To suggest anything otherwise is completely false."

MTA sources explained that Mr. Peloquin, who they said was currently in New York, was required to quarantine out of the country to comply with public-health standards in order to visit his family which continues to live in Canada. They said that he continued to work a full schedule remotely.

Mr. Carrube said that Mr. Peloquin's approach to his job differed significantly from that of Sarah Feinberg, the interim president of New York City Transit.

'She's More-Responsive'

"I have been dealing with Sarah for a while now, and I will tell you: she answers my calls, she answers my emails and she is on the job every day working," he said.

Mr. Peloquin, who previously worked for the Canadian National Railway, was hired in November 2019 to replace Ronnie Hakim, as the agency's COO amid a major reorganization designed to reduce headcount, cut costs and improve performance.

The Wall Street Journal described his selection at the time as an "unusual pick" to run a system with the nation's busiest commuter railroads because of his "limited experience running mass-transit systems."

Prior to his selection, Mr. Peloquin was serving as CEO for Thales Transport & Security Inc., the contractor that upgraded the signals for agency's Number 7 subway line.

Failing Upwards?

According to the Journal, "that project was completed in late 2018, more than a year late and over budget. After it was finished, riders suffered weeks of disruption caused by software glitches."

The Daily News reported Mr. Peloquin was not in the city for December's blizzard that caused region-wide mass-transit problems. It also noted his absence from the Aug. 25 hearing convened by the State Senate and Assembly regarding the MTA's pandemic response.

The agency's campaign to "reinvent" itself, which included Mr. Peloquin's selection, has been greeted with skepticism by its unions.

They fumed upon learning in October that another top executive had been given a salary more than twice what he was paid in the private sector.

Anthony McCord started his $325,000-a-year job as Chief Transformation Officer in December of 2019. According to the News, he made somewhere between $100,000 and $150,000 during the first nine months of 2019 working for Veolia, a French industrial-services company.

Dubious Results

He was brought in to implement the recommendations of AlixPartners, which was paid $4 million to reorganize the 74,000-employee agency.

In February, Mr. McCord presented a plan to deploy 120 consultants to reduce the MTA headcount by 2,700 under a mandate from Mr. Cuomo and the State Legislature. The plan was shelved as the agency dealt with the coronavirus.

Ultimately, he reported that retirements alone reduced headcount by 3,000 and that his review of MTA contracts for consultants had produced $155 million in savings over the next five years.

"Talk about a waste of money," wrote Tony Utano, president of TWU Local 100. 


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