Ex-MTA Chief Operating Officer Mario Peloquin earned $411,969 in his only full year on the job before he quit last month — earning him the top spot on the authority’s new list of highest-paid employees.
Peloquin returned home to Canada in February less than 15 months after he came to New York to “be responsible for day-to-day coordination of operations” at the $18 billion-per-year transit authority — and after earning the ire of labor leaders for working remotely from his home country for parts of last year.
His salary was reported at the time to be $325,000.
But the French Canadian — who oversaw the MTA’s overtime-reduction and signal-upgrading initiatives — made few public appearances after the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Everybody was doing everything they possibly could to keep the MTA afloat [amid COVID-19]. I don’t know where Mario Peloquin fit into that,” said Lisa Daglian, who runs the MTA’s in-house citizens advisory committee.
“We just don’t know. Hopefully for the taxpayers he earned his money.”
Peloquin had spent most of his previous career working for private infrastructure companies.
Hired in November 2019, he was the first person to serve as “Chief Operating Officer,” a role created by state law in 2019 as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s so-called “MTA transformation” effort.
Officials have not named a replacement or interim replacement for Peloquin. Daglian suggested they consider whether the role is worth filling at all.
“This is an opportunity for the MTA to learn whether that position is a good use of critical funds,” she said.
“That salary should be able to pay for four to five people.”
Besides Peloquin, MTA Chairman Pat Foye and Chief Transformation Officer Anthony McCord also cracked the list of thr 10 highest-paid MTA employees.
Foye earned the MTA’s seventh-highest salary of $360,196. McCord, another Canadian brought in as part of Cuomo’s “transformation,” came in at #8 with $356,707.
MTA police and Long Island Rail Road workers account for the rest of the list, which was released Friday afternoon along with a list of top overtime earner.
In previous years, the MTA’s highest-paid employees have been publicized by fiscal watchdog Empire Center, which has acquired the data through a Freedom of Information request. The group’s publication of the data two years ago ultimately led to federal indictments of five Long Island Rail Road workers and one subway employee.
Empire Center President Tim Hoefer said the MTA has yet to respond to its annual request for documents, which he said the group filed more than two months ago.
Hoefer dismissed the MTA’s “promotional report,” which was released quietly on Friday and primarily listed efforts to combat overtime spending and abuse.
“The MTA had time to put this ‘report’ together, but not fulfill our now more than two month old FOIL request for data they used to create said report. It’s maddening,” Hoefer said in a statement to The Post.
“And all this following a federal investigation that came about after the Empire Center spent years and countless dollars holding the MTA accountable for making the same data publicly available.”
MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan insisted transit officials “believe in being as promptly transparent with the public as possible.”
“While an outside group may have preferred to be the first to announce the MTA’s progress in reducing overtime spending by hundreds of millions of dollars last year, we were pleased to share it with New Yorkers as data became available,” Donovan said in a statement.
As for Peloquin, Dovovan said he “diligently served as a key executive addressing operational matters, including the COVID-19 response, during one of the toughest times in MTA history.”
“He worked remotely when practical in 2020 like thousands of other employees at the MTA and at most employers in the country,” Donovan said.