tv [untitled] May 12, 2011 11:30am-12:00pm PDT
>> good morning. i am at your disposal in terms of questions. i am john haley, director of operations. >> i am reginald mason and i'm the director of safety -- safety in treading enforcements. supervisor campos: the want to take questions or do you want to add to what has been said? >> if it pleases the board, we're happy to take questions. supervisor campos: why don't we turn it over to president chiu? president chiu: overtime has affected different apartments for many years. elected officials may come and go but this is something your department has not been able to get a handle on for a long time: so if we could try to drill down a little on that. do you know with other
jurisdictions: are the best practices and what are good agencies doing to manage overtime? how did the percentages compared to what we've got here? >> in our system, and this amplifies to some of what was said earlier, over time is not a four-letter word, if you will, in transit because especially the service plans driven by the amount of service and operators and applied the work rules and we have the ability to have someone working 12 hour day. the nature of our business is reischauer, so if we stretch that to have one person work, inherent in that is over time. in terms of the best practices, most of the transit system's i'm aware of, especially on the bus side deploy part-time operators
to be somewhere between 10 to a quarter of their workforce because of the peaks in schedules. as a benchmark for ballpark as past practice, that is a way to build efficient schedules, the use of part-timers. we do not have that available to us right now. that causes some of additional scheduled overtime. the other variables that take into effect to build on what was said is the things like the quality of the service, if you will. when you have a lot of delays, that causes additional overtime. one of the other things is as well as the age of the fleet, in terms of the fundamental
practice of providing service on a transit system, best practice is most people looked to balance some percentage of old- timers and part-timers on both bus and rail molds somewhere between 10% to 25% to balance the peak times. muni is a little bit less peak- intensive than other systems, but in general, that is the principal best practice in that regard. president chiu: you are saying we're not doing what our best practice is another's jurisdictions to handle this? >> i think that is something we need to get to in terms of the schedule. i would say it to use a term of art, the ability of the management to control how it is going to deliver the service
once the service standards dictate we're going to have this many vehicles at this time and how that service is run, management in this particular case needs what was described as more flexible work rules in order to -- i would submit to you -- in order to effect best practices. >> i assume these are discussions you are having with the union on how to handle this? >> all the time. i would suggest to the board this is not a static process. it is a way that you have to wait between contract and negotiate. with your help and support last fall, we were able to restore some of the service that was cut. in doing so, what we were able to do was aggressively use a reduction of something called
standby time which is simply time you pay people to be available but not operated vehicle. that has driven up our cost over time and we were able to take a number of actions within the contract and stretched our interpretation to do that more effectively. fess it is things we are looking at constantly, but at the same time, to get us to the next level and make a difference both financially in terms of the quality of service, we need to create even more flexibility in the work rules, such as part- timers. president chiu: i've noticed that you have dozens and dozens of workers working 30% of overtime. assuming you have workers working 80 hour weeks for three or four months of time during the year, have you done an analysis with your transit operators for those 70 individuals or your supervisors at work at those bases to
understand why? >> i think the other thing that drives that for anything else is staffing loads. on the of riverside, because of budget issues, they stopped hiring operators. when you don't have enough operators, you put more runs out for overtime and it misses the service. you need to balance that because our objective, our goal is to put 90% every day on the street for schedule. we fall below that -- part of the reason is we don't have enough operators who have been hired because it takes on our process for civil service and other things along time i do have to balance the number of operators in attrition.
when you don't have enough operators, -- the last three months, we have averaged 50 runs a day at overtime. those are people coming in on their day off. fans at some point, you balance the level. on some of the other categories you see in the presentation, some of the electronic technicians on the rail side. on the real side, you had a significant reduction in staff over the last two and a half years. there has been an increase in miles the cars -- an increase in miles, the cars have gotten older, there's a greater maintenance demand as cars age. this is part good news -- we are supporting a number of rehabilitation programs on both the bus and rail side focusing on components that fail and that are delaying our service and using overtime to do that work in addition to the preventative
maintenance inspection. part of the key thing for us is the level of staffing. the other thing i would point out in terms of the city contracts is that when people leave, and we have had a lot of people felt in the last couple of years retire and have been incentivize to retire because we have operations on the maintenance side for a number of city-wide contracts, for people with the appropriate security, they are free to go to the port or somewhere else and that process delays our hiring and filling positions and causes us to have to get the work done and do that over time. that is a quick summary of some of the issues that drive some of the overtime. president chiu: after our last
hearing on overtime, given the threshold of 30% overtime trigger for our part of human- resources needs to sign off on this, i proposed we reduce that to 20% so that we know exactly how many folks are working at a higher level of overtime. do you have any idea of how many of your workers would fall into that category? >> i want to make sure i understand your question. in terms of categories, we would have a couple of groups such as service inspectors -- there are employees who manage the service on the street. there are people in the control center where we've run a 24/7 operation that would be in that category. there are some station agents also who have built up a lot of overtime because we want to cover all the stations and have
been using overtime to cover overall reductions in the staff. those are three examples and we can provide a very precise lists based on -- because we certainly know where overtime is going and who is using it and for a reason. president chiu: i think there is often a perception with my constituents that there are muni drivers and other employees who are not necessarily showing up to work when they need to and that's exacerbating overtime issues. can you talk about your statistics in that area? what is your absentee rate and are your drivers coming to work on time? >> in and force when areas, as far as absentee rate, we are below 5% on a daily basis. our employees show up to work, but a lot of our overtime deals with special events and, there's
an incident that pco is needed, like a car incident to direct traffic or we get a call from the police department or fire department to use direct traffic around emergency incidents, that takes up a lot of time. the majority of that is not on overtime. >> i just want to add to what mr. mason said in terms of one of the things we're trying to do that has had a dramatic impact of overtime. a week ago thursday, we had eight -- we had 22% of our workforce unavailable for service. 22% of the total. the majority of that in july of last year -- excuse me, august of last year, we put a sick leave policy into place.
the result was the number of the usage of sick leave went around dramatically in the first six weeks. supervisor campos: tell me -- president chiu: tell me what was happening before that. >> we had put some people on the abuse list. this required bringing in a doctor's note a little sooner and also required -- it identified discipline to be applied immediately for each occasion. the sick leave policy went into effect and within two or three weeks, says cleveland down, but at the same time, the applications for family medical leave went up exponentially. what we have seen is a shift over, and the one instance, to family medical leave as well as sick and so part of what we're doing is working with other
departments, both within the mta and city to deal with it and help us manage it and control it as well as we do with instances of workers' compensation. so there is a number -- when we are trying to both manage the workforce that we have and increase the percentage of availability, there are some things we are working on as well to try to -- we're looking at the sick leave policy, we are reaching out to try to fix as best we can to understand what actions we are allowed to do under family medical leave. the result of this is on a typical day, as somebody is a full-time operator and they don't come to work for whatever reason, we have to try to fill that run in overtime and that's our practice. in terms of managing our work
force, that is an important aspect to what we are trying to do to reduce overtime. president chiu: a final comment and question. obviously, every two years during the budgeting process, you try to estimate what your overruff talk -- what your overtime is going to look like. in this year's analysis, you're talking about $4 million of extra overtime we did not expect. frankly, we have another item -- it's more than that, 18. that amount of money could solve some of the problems in this city. i'm looking at the next item we are dealing with when it comes to wage theft. if we does have a small fraction of that, that could help deal with the issues everyone in this room is for. that could go a very long way. my point is we have to do a far better drop -- a far better job of budgeting hour overtime projections and as you are going through the contract negotiation
process right now, let's say you were given additional flexibility in our contract to use part-time drivers, what methods were guarantees are you going to be able to put into place that will actually help you keep overtime costs down? it seems to me at the end of the day, a lot of folks want to pan the additional costs of workers using it, but it's up to management to figure out what the best practices to keep these costs down. i don't see any indications that has happened in the last couple of years. >> a couple of things -- one was suggested earlier by supervisor campos. we're be measured against a budgeted number. when the number is developed, we have to be clear and the assumptions and the service perspective. what is the service we are expected to deliver? as was pointed out correctly, we
know how many giants games there are every year. we know how many 40 niners games. special events needs to be reflected entirely in the budget as does -- 49ers games. that will give us an opportunity to run this same level of service at a more cost-effective level because we will be paying more directly, i simply as i can put it, we will be paying more hours for people to drive and not to sit. those are some of the -- having first clear understanding of the service plan -- i would also say that when you have a service plan, i would argue that in terms of -- you are always going to have some percentage of overtime in transit. as i said before, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, it's not a four-letter word.
we go through that exercise as we develop a budget and want to stay within the overtime budget. anything we can do to schedule overtime -- the other thing is, to the extent we run a good quality service, meaning if we reduce delays, that means you don't have to have people out responding in take people out of service. schedule overtime is a way to do it. right now, we've got good controls on both of them, but the cause and effects and the one we really need to drive down to make up for the numbers that you cited would be the unscheduled overtime to the extent we reduce delays to the extent we manage and get people to come to work.
that will make the most of the difference in our numbers. president chiu: private-sector managers are incentivize to keep down overtime costs. i know many of my colleagues are frustrated by this -- you come back with those with high overtime numbers and there's not a lot we can do to ensure you can help us keep down these costs. it seems like a groundhog day year after year, every sixth month, the overtime costs keep going up. what assurances do we have in six months or one year we will have a different report that comes back? you are very well compensated for the work that you do, and i'm just trying to understand as we go through this process of trying to fix the mta and muni,
how we know you're just not going to provide a plan of why we are back in this situation again? >> a number of ways. i think we work together on the development of the budget so we are assured we know what the scheduled overtime this. we know what our targets are. we agree when we build the budget of water staffing levels are at one of the reasons on the maintenance side that overtime has been high in the last 12 to 14 months is the staffing level. part of the plan was presented was looking at and rebuilding some of the resources back to the front line troops. we have a number of controls and the place to manage overtime on a day-to-day basis. we have a daily report that
tracks every run that overtime and we fall on delays. we are happy to share whatever information. it is a front burner issue, if you will, at the mta. it is something we talk about virtually every day -- not virtually, we talk about every day. in terms of our ability to give you assurances, i can assure you we will do everything we can we are doing -- we're doing everything we can to build the budget and get the contracts of more flexibility to manage the system. we're doing that forcefully right now and that should yield the results we're hoping to get. president chiu: thank you. supervisor farrell: i would like to eliminate a few things. i'm not so sure the public knows about these things. you mention this notion of standby time where --
>> standby time is what we keep referring to in bill work rules when we build schedule. you have two times a day, the a.m. and the p.m. where you put out more service than the rest. there are some levels of service all day. you need to use one person to cover both russia hours. you have hours of service they are available on the bus side, over 12 hours. you can have somebody drive for 10 hours and they will be available for 12 hours and some portion of that will be over time. the other way people do it, other transit properties for example, it would be to schedule some 18 hours a day, straight work, no standby time, we pay them for the time they're
driving the vehicle. you use someone who would work three and half for four hours in the afternoon to fill an afternoon run. that's one of the efficiencies we are working on to get. that covers the entire schedule you set up by using a part- timer who is less costly than a full timer. this balancing -- the term of sweet spot was used -- balancing between the right number of full-timer's and part-timers' because nature of our business is the service we have to provide is not flat over the course of the day. it goes up in the morning, dropped down in mid day add drops down in the day and comes back up. one of the ways to fill the gap -- that would be using part- timers on those kinds of things.
the other thing that is obvious is all lot of these special events that come up are three or four or five hours that may be ideal for a part-time operator. that would basically reduce our cost in that regard. stand by is simply under the contracts we have, the way the schedules are put together, we do not have portions or pieces. we have to put an afternoon and morning together to make up for a 10-12 hour day for one person and that sometimes does not fit in all the old work rules correctly so we pay some portion of that as overtime. does that answer your question? supervisor farrell: it begs a lot of other questions. what are people doing during standby time? are they hanging out at starbucks?
>> it could be any number of things. it is the time they're paid. supervisor farrell: they are on the clock being paid? >> yes. supervisor farrell: so when you talk about -- a lot of this reverts back to that the explanations seems to be around part-timers and the lack thereof and i understand the part of our prior contract. knowing that, when was that contract signed? >> i'm not sure exactly. four or five years ago. it has been in effect for a while. i'm happy to go look it up, i just don't have the exact -- >> the prohibition on part-time operators has been in the
contract for a least 15 years. more than the term of the current contract, which is what i think mr. haley was speaking to. supervisor farrell: if it has been in effect for that long, it seems to be an excuse that that's the ability and that's why the overtime is so high. shouldn't that be budgeted in? right now, we're looking at not just over all, but transit operators and the transit division has basically all if not 90% of the overtime increase. it is well over 50% over budget this year. how is it -- we have known this for however many years that it's not part of what we know honor scheduling route? >> first of all, the budgeted number you are measuring as against, it is unclear to me what the assumptions were when that number was built in terms of service levels and staffing
levels. in terms of the second part of your question, forget part- timers, why are you over the budget? a couple of things -- first is the number of operators we have them available to drive. our schedules as we need a 1174 operators available to put service on the street every day. when we have some number less than that, we either missed the service or fill the run with overtime. the number of operators we have is one of the causes over time is up, forget part-timers or anything like that. we don't have right now and over the last several months, the number of operators we need. in order to fill the service, we have more operators that over time. similarly, -- supervisor farrell: pardon me
for interrupting, we don't have the number of operators we need -- why not? >> that's a fair question. we are in the process of -- i guess it was about two years ago, we stopped hiring operators for budget reasons. we have been working to catch up since then, going through the process, we lose 12 or 15 operators a month and we are in the process -- there are four or five trading classis going through in the next several months on the bedside and we're looking to catch up on the rail side. it is a number of factors that tieback originally to the budget as to why there are not sufficient operators' right now. in terms of the first part, leaving out part-timers, the first part is due you have the right number of operators to put in service? the second set of issues that
drive up over time is what is going on with the system? i'm not talking about special events, but things like -- one that has caused a lot of overtime, grignard. and the last several months, beginning in the fall, one of the facilities is old and heavily utilized. we are forced to basically moved functions out of there and operate the service while we did emergency made his to the physical plant. we move to thej and the k onto the street and all that resulted in a great deal of operator over time necessary to work around a capital project, similar capital projects at 30th and church. other work which is beneficial to the system. california street has resulted
in additional overtime for us. we have a system like ours in terms of the age of the fleet, we have a 10 or 11 year old on average bus fleet. the buses have not had a midlife overhaul. we are doing some things better showing positive results with some of the proposition k money, but at the same time, we have had -- in the month of january and february of this year, for example, we had 15 vehicle delays on the real side a day caused by trains. on average, nine of the trains got taken out of service for doors or propulsion. the number of delays, aged equipment also drive that the overtime.