MTA Board Must Update Ethics Policy at December Meeting to Address Conflicts of Interest


MTA Board Has Not Addressed Issues Raised by
Former CEO/Chairman Lhota’s Resignation
MTA Board Governance Committee will “Review” its Code of Ethics Today

Last week, Reinvent Albany wrote the MTA Board of Directors, urging them to amend their ethics policy at today’s Governance Committee meeting to clearly ban outside income for the CEO/Chairman, and adopt best practices regarding conflicts of interest.

The Governance Committee plans to “review” its Code of Ethics today according to its agenda. The letter asks the MTA to adopt unaddressed recommendations made by good government groups regarding conflicts of interest sent in a July 2018 letter following the revelation that former CEO/Chairman Joe Lhota was receiving considerable outside income from Madison Square Garden.

Ultimately, CEO/Chairman Lhota resigned, and it was revealed that his resignation was due to an “incompatible” conflict of interest. The MTA Board failed to adopt changes to the MTA Ethics Policy in December 2018, punting its discussion to 2019.

Reinvent Albany’s December 11, 2019 letter asks the MTA Board to do the following:

  1. Adopt the recommendations sent in July 2018 by Reinvent Albany, Citizens Union, Common Cause/NY, the League of Women Voters of New York City, and the NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign regarding specific amendments related to conflicts of interest for the MTA All-Agency and Board Codes of Ethics; and
  2. Follow best practices regarding transparency of Board votes to: (1) document reasons for all recusals in Board meeting minutes, as recommended by the Authorities Budget Office; and (2) create a public database of Board actions, including recusals.

Reinvent Albany will also be presenting testimony at today’s MTA Governance Committee meeting, which is scheduled for 3:30 pm.