The MTA named a new head of security for New York City Transit after the department’s director resigned last week reportedly amid a probe into cronyism.
Al Putre, a 27-year MTA employee who recently was a NYC Transit vice president and chief revenue officer at NYC Transit, will take over the agency’s Department of Security from Vincent DeMarino, the MTA said. No decision has been made on whether Putre’s appointment is permanent, according to the MTA.
MTA CEO and chairman Thomas Prendergast acknowledged at yesterday’s board meeting that DeMarino resigned his $162,000 a year post Friday. The MTA declined to confirm reports in the New York Post and Daily News that DeMarino was being investigated for cronyism in hiring decisions.
“He resigned. He was the director of security at NYC Transit for seven and a half years, did a very good job and then he resigned on Friday,” Prendergast said.
The Daily News reported that the inspector general probe alleged that friends and relatives of security department staff were being hired. Relatives hired included the sons of two supervisors who got property protection posts, the Daily News reported. Deputy Chief Raph Misiti is also being probed by the inspector general for favoritism, the New York Post reported.
“It’s incumbent upon us to follow the rules of how we employ people,” Prendergast said when asked about cronyism in the department. “So am I concerned with nepotism, yes.”
The MTA would not confirm the reports and a spokesman for Inspector General Barry Kluger declined to comment.
DeMarino, a former NYPD official, launched the MTA’s Eagle Team in 2007 that partnered with police officers to curb graffiti in the system and to patrol for fare beaters on Select and ordinary bus routes. The Eagle Team was mainly staffed with retired law enforcement officials.