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CTA notes budget savings, appoints inspector general


As the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) prepares its 2011 budget, officials have identified $53.6 million in savings that would help the agency “weather the continued economic challenges without adversely impacting the current level and quality of service,” according to the authority.

CTA still is finalizing budget recommendations, but officials believe that revenue will not increase enough to cover the increase in costs, particularly those related to labor agreements.

The agency expects to save about $36 million in personnel costs, including $7.2 million in salaries and benefits by eliminating more than 70 positions; $13.7 million in salary and benefit costs by delaying hiring for open positions; and $5.5 million by continuing to control overtime. In addition, non-union employees again would forgo wage increases and be required to take up to 18 days of unpaid leave, saving another $9.7 million.

CTA would save an additional $17.5 million as departments continue to streamline operations and reduce expenditures, such as fuel, power, materials and contracts. The authority has reduced power costs through a new contract that enables CTA to purchase wholesale power. CTA expects to spend $8.1 million less on power in 2011 than was budgeted in 2010.

Meanwhile, the agency has appointed Paul Sidrys to a four-year term as inspector general. He has served as acting inspector general for the past year.

Sidrys is responsible for promoting “effectiveness and integrity” in the administration of CTA programs and operations. He will oversee the receipt and registration of complaints and information concerning waste, fraud and abuse within CTA; investigate and audit the conduct and performance of authority officers, employees, agents and contractors acting on CTA’s behalf; and report the results of investigations and audits to the board.

Sidrys previously served as CTA’s deputy inspector general. Prior to joining the agency in 2005, Sidrys held various positions with the accounting and consulting firms Arthur Andersen & Co. and Grant Thornton, as well as with Bricker and Associates.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/16/2010