Ex-NJ Transit official says he was fired for exposing mismanagement

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NEWARK -

New Jersey Transit has been under fire by customers lately due to mismanagement and other issues that have caused delays and cancellations on the railway almost daily. Now, a former compliance officer at the agency says that he was fired after he identified issues in how the agency operates.

Todd Barretta was hired in 2017 by NJ Transit as its first-ever chief compliance officer after a fatal train derailment in Hoboken.

Barretta says he immediately identified management problems, compliance issues, nepotism, cronyism and incompetence in how the agency operated and he let management know about it. He says that he was effectively told to keep quiet.

“They wanted my role to help the organization, to guide the organization to appear to be in compliance. They wanted my role to help them cover things up,” Barretta says.

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Two days before he was scheduled to testify before the New Jersey Legislature about what he had found, Barretta says that he was fired from his position. NJ Transit says that Barretta improperly used an agency cart to run personal errands. It is a claim that he denies.

“They made that all up afterwards,” he says.

New Jersey Transit then filed a lawsuit against Barretta.

A year later, newly sworn-in Gov. Phil Murphy issued an audit against NJ Transit. He described the same mismanagement that Barretta had blown the whistle about.

But Barretta says that the Murphy administration is still continuing to fight him in court.

“Fifteen months later, I’m still standing here fighting off retaliation by them,” he says.

The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office declined to comment about the case against Barretta.

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