MTA Hires Fraudulent Contracts Guy to Oversee Spending

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David Ross, the director of contracts and purchasing for the city Department of Education since 2004 and the same man who oversaw millions in wasteful and fraudulent school contracts is headed for a new job with the MTA, according to the New York Post.

Ross will join the MTA as their new chief procurement officer. The same MTA that the Governor wants you to hand more cash to.

This highlights the MTA’s mismanagement and lack of concern for spending public dollars wisely. It’s one big reason that neither the City nor State should throw more tax dollars at the agency without any reform.

Ross had a series of missteps at the Department of Education. Under Ross, the Department of Education approved a $54 million four-year contract extension with Future Technology Associates despite a number of red flags. That resulted in the firm ripping off at least $6.5 million from the city.

On another occasion, as noted in the Post article, he was set to award a $1.1 billion contract to Custom Computer Specialists, a tech firm that was involved in a prior theft of $3.6 million. A dozen other vendors were hired to do the work for less than half that contract price, at $472 million.

What the heck is the MTA thinking hiring someone with this record?

MTA Chairman Joe Lhota said “The governor has made it clear he wants a new MTA, a new approach.” Apparently that new approach involves hiring someone with a history of mistakes and lack of accountability and responsibility.

“He’s a nice guy, but he didn’t manage the procurement rigorously enough,” said Patrick Sullivan, an ex-member of the Department of Education’s Panel for Educational Policy.” Not quite the endorsement you’re looking for in the new chief procurement officer.

This smells like the same MTA mismanagement we’ve seen in the past. The New York City Comptroller’s recent audit revealed “serious breakdowns in oversight and operations which have contributed to a culture of indifference and neglect by the MTA.”

More of your money won’t fix the problem if the negligence and borderline arrogance in hiring practices in the MTA continues.

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