Reporting Responsibilities Reflect Safety Commitment
February 26th, 2014
The MTA is making changes to upper management reporting responsibilities to emphasize oversight of safety across its agencies.
Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast announced at Monday's meetings of Board committees that each agency will ensure its top safety official reports directly to the agency’s president. Agency presidents discussed their safety programs, detailing how they monitor the condition of crews and equipment, search for potential problems and fix those that they discover. Key among the presidents’ efforts is emphasizing and improving the safety culture within their agencies, so all operations have safety as their primary objective.
At Metro-North Railroad, where safety and security had reported to the same position, the responsibilities are now separated. A new position of Chief Safety Officer has been created. Anne Kirsch will hold the new position. A Chief Security Officer will be named soon.
At the Long Island Rail Road, Loretta Ebbighausen, Senior Director System Safety and Training will now report to LIRR President Helena E. Williams. Previously, Ebbighausen had reported to the Senior VP of Administration.
Cheryl Kennedy, VP System Safety, will continue to report to New York City Transit President Carmen Bianco.
Andrew Petrovich, Chief Health and Safety Officer for MTA Bridges and Tunnels who previously reported to VP of Administration, will report to MTA Bridges and Tunnels President James Ferrara.
At MTA Capital Construction, Peter Kohner, VP of Safety, will report to MTA Capital Construction President Michael Horodniceanu.
“The safety of our customers and employees is unquestionably the top priority for the MTA, and these steps will make sure this emphasis on safety is built into the operations of every MTA agency,” Prendergast said. “The events of the last year have made clear to everyone in the MTA how important it is to create a culture where all employees act to eliminate risks, and changing our executive structure will ensure safety remains a dedicated agency value.”
All MTA agencies have re-examined their safety-related operations over the last year. Prendergast, who has spent 10 years of his career in safety positions, convened a Blue Ribbon Panel of outside experts to study MTA safety practices in September.
In addition, Metro-North Railroad and the Long Island Rail Road announced they have installed automatic speed controls at 10 critical curves and one moveable bridge since the Dec. 1, 2013 Metro-North derailment at a curve in Spuyten Duyvil. These controls work with existing signal systems installed in every train cab to enforce speed limits at those locations.
“The MTA has a long tradition of safe and reliable operations, which is why our customers and our employees are rightly upset with the failures we’ve seen in the last year,” Prendergast said. “We are making these and many other improvements so our customers and employees can be confident on the MTA network. Safety is a mindset, not a checklist, and these improvements are important actions to ensure the MTA earns the trust of our customers and employees again.”