Watchdog rips MTA oversight of big-dollar contractors

The MTA’s analysis course of for big-dollar contractors is “a move/fail take a look at the place everybody passes” and in want of a “elementary revamp,” the company’s inspector common mentioned in a damning new report.

IG Carolyn Pokorny’s workplace discovered MTA managers gave almost one hundred pc of firms passing grades, permitting “problematic distributors” to “undeservedly rating” entry comfortable building contracts.

The analysis course of — referred to as the All-Company Contraction Analysis — is carried out for firms with capital contracts of $250,000 or extra.

In 2019, contract managers gave the best grade of “passable” to 97.2 % of contract recipients, the IG mentioned. Simply .4 % of contractors obtained failing grades.

IG investigators beforehand flagged situations of poor performing contractors with passing rankings in 2009 and 2015.

“Capital venture managers have a historical past of ranking subpar distributors ‘passable’ in evaluations, creating ‘analysis inflation’ within the system,” the report launched Wednesday mentioned.

“Knowledge from 2016 by means of 2019 reveals that the issue persists — and if something has gotten worse.”

The cash-choked MTA has been plagued for years by expensive contractor delays and overruns. Extra “unsatisfactory” rankings may have helped the MTA keep away from expensive errors, the IG report claimed.

However Ben Fried, of the Manhattan-based assume tank TransitCenter, mentioned the MTA’s downside isn’t dangerous contractors, however too few firms bidding for contracts.

“It’s not very aggressive, and the much less competitors, the tougher it’s for the MTA to get good costs,” Fried mentioned of the small pool of contractors prepared to work with the company.

“The IG ought to look into that — what’s scaring firms away from MTA enterprise? If extra of them have been competing for MTA jobs, perhaps the company wouldn’t be so hesitant to flag poor performers.”

In its official response, the MTA agreed to the IG’s name for a revamp of the contractor analysis course of.

Officers declare to have taken steps to enhance contractor efficiency by combining initiatives collectively and using “trendy building strategies.”

“We agree that the contractor analysis course of must be modified with a purpose to make it a greater device,” MTA Development & Improvement spokesman John McCarthy mentioned in a press release.

“On the identical time, now we have taken an aggressive strategy to enhance the contractor administration course of.”

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