New high-paying jobs in city's DOT questioned

The city's Department of Transportation disclosed this week they've reorganized the agency, creating five new positions that pay $100,000 or more for upper management.

The moves were questioned by some City Council members who say they were not informed of the changes. Before the changes, only two employees at the department took in six figures.

"Any time there's such a major reorganization and additional funding, we should know, frankly, before those positions are declared and filled," said City Councilman Carl Stokes, who chairs the finance committee. "The council and the public should know up-front why the money is being spent, so we have an opportunity to vet it rather than speaking to it after the fact."

The agency has been in turmoil since last late 2012, when errors were discovered with its speed cameras, which were shut down in early 2013.

Councilman Bill Henry said he believes the agency's new director, William Johnson, is taking the problems seriously and hopes the staff shake-up will help. Henry, too, said he wished the council was informed of the reorganization plan.

"I know that Director Johnson takes all of the concerns very seriously, and I know he's committed to not repeating the mistakes of the past," he said. "If that means we need fresh eyes, I'm not going to complain about that."

Though there are five new positions, three are jobs that have been reclassified or transferred, said Adrienne Barnes, a spokeswoman for the agency.

Charles Lattuca will be paid $130,000 to become deputy director of engineering and development; Lindsay Wines will be paid $100,000 to become deputy director of administration; Richard Hooper will be paid $102,000 to become operations bureau chief; Veronica McBeth will be paid $100,000 to become transit bureau chief; and Frank Murphy, the agency's former interim director, will be paid $101,000 to become a senior adviser.

None of the employees who previously worked for the city made more than $100,000 before the transition.

"We have hired executive level staff members to oversee specific divisions and improve the overall efficiency of operations within the agency," Barnes said.

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