Photographer: John Taggart/Bloomberg

Embattled NJ Transit Suspends Compliance Chief 6 Months Into Job

  • Position was vacant until lawmakers started hearings on safety
  • Agency is under scrutiny for slipping service, safety issues

New Jersey Transit, under scrutiny for its safety and financial practices, has removed its chief compliance officer amid an internal investigation after just six months on the job.

Nancy Snyder, an agency spokeswoman, declined to comment on the circumstances of Todd C. Barretta’s suspension, saying it was a personnel matter.

“Mr. Barretta is suspended without pay pending the outcome of an ongoing internal investigation,” Snyder said in an email. “He is no longer New Jersey Transit’s chief compliance officer. NJT has hired a new compliance officer starting Aug. 14.”

Barretta didn’t immediately respond to an email sent to his personal account. A mobile-phone number listed in his name wasn’t accepting voice messages, a text message went unanswered and a home number appeared to have been disconnected.

Barretta was hired in March at a $175,000-a-year salary, months after state lawmakers began an inquiry about slipping reliability and deteriorating finances at the nation’s largest statewide mass-transportation agency. Among their findings was that key positions, including the compliance chief’s, had gone unfilled after the agency created a safety office in 2014.

At a public meeting in March, Barretta was welcomed by Executive Director Steve Santoro, who said he would oversee the agency’s responsiveness to risk-management plans and legal, regulatory and internal policies.

Last year, the agency logged the most accidents, including a fatal train wreck, among the nation’s 10 biggest U.S. commuter railroads. In recent months federal regulators have issued safety-violation notices after scrutinizing work-hour records, repair histories and incident reports.

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