The MBTA today fired three superintendents and moved to fire five union-represented managers for allegedly manipulating mileage records to avoid performing regular maintenance inspections on more than 200 buses in the T fleet.
T officials allege that the activity occurred at three of the nine bus maintenance garages – Arborway, Charlestown and Southampton.
The T disciplined three superintendents, one supervisor, and four forepersons. In addition to regular visual inspections by the drivers, the buses are supposed to undergo full inspections every 6,000 miles at the garages. But T officials believe some of the buses were going as long as 35,000 miles between inspections in a practice that they believe dates at least back to late 2007.
T officials uncovered the problem as part of a new "quality assurance" internal investigation earlier this year. On Feb. 26, a T inspector observed that two buses appeared to lack recent maintenance.
Further investigation determined that the mileage on the odometers of those buses did not match the mileage in a T computer database used to determine inspections, and a wider investigation revealed discrepancies for more than 200 of the 1,050 buses in the T fleet.
The T has 650 bus maintenance workers, including 50 forepersons, 14 supervisors, and six superintendents who work across the nine garages. The T did not identify the employees who were fired or disciplined, but said their years of service ranged from 6 to 24.5 and their salaries ranged from $76,000 to $80,000, not including overtime.
DOT officials say there is no evidence that the lack of inspections caused any safety problems, but they said the lack of inspections contributed to poor performance and delays on the bus lines.
The firings mark the second time Richard Davey has terminated employees in less than a month as the MBTA's general manager; during his first week he fired multiple bus drivers for possessing or using cell phones while on the job, a violation of T policy.
Eric Moskowitz can be reached at email@example.com
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