New York City subway signals -- 15,000 of them -- are traffic lights for trains below ground. In November the, the MTA inspector general discovered that for 10 years, 90 percent of subway maintenance crews lied about inspecting the critical signals.
Inspector General Barry Kluger found that supervisors were on vacation when they claimed to be inspecting. Bar codes on the signals were photocopied so signal inspections could be processed in an office without going near the signals. The same supervisors in charge when inspections were falsified in 2000 and 2005 are in charge today.
The City Council's Transportation Committee on Thursday grilled the MTA New York City Transit President Thomas Prendergast, who insisted the public's safety was never jeopardized.
The president of the Transport Workers Union said the number of maintenance workers is half of what it was 20 years ago, so to get the job done, supervisors forced his members to falsify records or lose their jobs.
The MTA inspector general and the Manhattan District Attorney's Office are conducting a criminal investigation into the falsification of the inspection of these subway signals.