Former NJ Transit executive criticizes agency at hearing

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TRENTON, N.J. — A former NJ Transit executive blasted the rail transit agency while testifying before a state legislative committee last week, reports.

Former Chief Compliance Officer Todd C. Barretta told lawmakers the agency was riddled with dysfunction and was adhering to outdated safety rules under the leadership of unqualified personnel.

Barretta, who was hired in April and terminated in August, claims he tried to bring the agency into compliance with federal rules and regulations during his brief tenure with the agency.

“NJ Transit is an agency in peril and needs assistance, it needs a new direction,” Barretta said on Friday.

During Friday’s hearing, Barretta mentioned specific instances at work, such as an issue allegedly involving two railroad employees who were using cell phones while at work. According to Barretta, he was asked to have the Federal Railroad Administration discipline the employees, as opposed to having the agency handle the situation.

Barretta also reportedly expressed his concern about the agency meeting the December 2018 positive train control deadline.

While NJ Transit Executive Director Steven Santoro said the agency would meet the deadline, he did mention issues with a contractor that was late in delivering PTC equipment and software. According to the article, Parsons, the agency’s PTC contractor, is supposed to deliver a back-up plan by the end of the month in response to PTC equipment delays. 

Barretta went on to say he would prefer not to ride the NJ Transit system and said he would not put his own son on the system.

In response to Barretta’s allegations, Santoro questioned how the compliance officer was able to obtain such information when his tenure with the agency was so short lived.

According to agency representatives, Barretta was terminated for “significant misuse of his [NJ Transit] vehicle.”

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie fired back after Barretta’s testimony, telling journalists the former executive gave “false and retaliatory testimony” to lawmakers during Friday's hearing.

Christie echoed Santoro’s comments in that Barretta was terminated for misusing his company vehicle and his personal computer.

“I think it’s a bad idea when the person who’s supposed to be in charge of compliance breaks all the rules on a regular basis,” Christie said on Friday.

Friday’s hearing was part of an ongoing investigation on safety issues at NJ Transit. 

See the original story online.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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