Employee Qualifications, Hiring, and Promotions (Follow-Up)

Issued Date
September 26, 2022
Metropolitan Transportation Authority


To determine the extent of implementation of the 14 recommendations included in our initial audit report, Employee Qualifications, Hiring, and Promotions (Report 2017-S-48).

About the Program

According to its mission statement, the MTA preserves and enhances the quality of life and economic health of the New York metropolitan region through cost-efficient provision of safe, on-time, reliable, and clean transportation services. Transit, an agency of the MTA, provides subway and bus services to New York City (NYC). Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operation Authority (MaBSTOA), a subsidiary of Transit, operates buses in upper Manhattan and the Bronx. MTA Bus Company, a subsidiary of the MTA, provides bus services in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens. Staten Island Railway (SIR), a subsidiary of the MTA, provides rapid transit service on Staten Island. Transit is governed by the provisions of the New York State Civil Service Law (Law). MaBSTOA, MTA Bus, and SIR are not subject to the Law.

Section 1210 of the Public Authorities Law provides that the appointment, promotion, and continuance of employment of all Transit employees is governed by the provisions of the Law and is subject to the rules of the NYC Municipal Civil Service Commission. As such, Transit employees are assigned to job titles that are generally classified as competitive and non-competitive.

Between January 1, 2020, and November 18, 2021MTA listed 507 job title postings: 13 at MTA Bus, 39 at SIR, 68 at MaBSTOA, and 387 at Transit. The hiring and promotion processes used by Transit are determined by title classification. Competitive titles are subject to a Civil Service examination to establish eligibility for appointment; non-competitive titles do not require an examination.

For Transit-specific titles, Transit administers all operating and non-operating title examinations. Transit is responsible for developing, administering, and scoring competitive Civil Service examinations. The resulting eligibility lists are provided to the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS), which is responsible for administering the lists in accordance with the Law.

For job titles also used at other NYC agencies, the examinations are administered by DCAS. Transit uses the lists to appoint or promote employees in these titles. If there are no active lists, employees hired in these titles are deemed "provisional" until the DCAS examinations are held and the certified lists are available. Transit also administers the examinations for MaBSTOA, MTA Bus and SIR.

While Transit-specific jobs require an examination, non-Transit and non-operating job titles are filled through Job Vacancy Notices (JVNs), which include the required qualifications. JVNs are posted on the MTA website. Interested applicants must submit a résumé and/or application for these positions, from which an interview panel makes their selections. Transit officials also hire and promote using JVNs when a list is not available.

MTA also allows interagency arrangements where employees may work for one agency while being paid by another agency. These employees are referred to as “matrixed” employees. MTA Headquarters permits these arrangements to allow MTA agencies to transfer qualified staff from other MTA agencies while allowing the staff to remain in the same pension system and tier and retain existing longevity and benefits. These transfers have also occurred due to consolidations in departments such as Legal, Treasury, and Procurement.

As a result of a transformation plan, MTA consolidated additional functions including Human Resources, Procurement, Division of Diversity and Civil Rights and Compliance.

The objectives of our initial report, issued on January 17, 2019, were to determine whether the MTA used similar hiring and promotional policies, procedures, and directives for Transit, MaBSTOA, MTA Bus Company, and SIR. The audit also examined whether the MTA established controls over the interagency movement of employees and if there are opportunities for improprieties in the hiring, promotion, or supervision of employees. We found that non-operating employees were hired or promoted with lower education and experience than that established by DCAS for Civil Service competitive titles. In addition, interagency transfers were done without the required documentation and employee files lacked required documents meant to prevent nepotism in the workforce.

Key Findings

We found that MTA officials made progress in addressing the issues identified in our initial report. Of the 14 prior audit recommendations, four were implemented, seven were partially implemented, two were not implemented, and one is no longer applicable.

Key Recommendation

Officials are given 30 days after the issuance of the follow-up review to provide information on any action planned to address the unresolved issues discussed in this review.

Carmen Maldonado

State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director: Carmen Maldonado
Phone: (212) 417-5200; Email: [email protected]
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236