Embattled LIRR President Resigning

Patrick Nowakowski is walking away from his position, effective Friday, after four years at the helm, the MTA confirmed. News of his plan to resign was reported earlier by Newsday.

The move comes less than a month after being slammed by the state comptroller for “unacceptable performance” and following endless complaints from fed up and frustrated commuters.

Last month, Nowakowski unveiled a Performance Improvement Plan that outlined goals for the rail road, including better maintenance, infrastructure upgrades and communication with customers.

In a statement, Nowakowski said he “took a few days off to think about things.”

“I’m pleased with the direction the railroad is headed under the Performance Improvement Plan, and I decided that now was a good time to step aside and allow new leadership to continue the progress we’ve begun to make on improving customer service,” he said.

“I thank Pat for his service to LIRR customers and his steady and evenhanded leadership of the railroad at a time when external events caused challenges for the railroad, particularly Amtrak’s renewal of tracks and infrastructure at Penn Station that the entire LIRR depends on,” MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota said in a statement.

“We are grateful for Pat’s service and thankful he has established a framework for future performance improvement at the railroad,” MTA Managing Director Ronnie Hakim said in a statement. “At a time when the railroad is carrying more riders than at any time since the late 1940s, the LIRR has faced significant challenges and his stewardship has been greatly appreciated.”

Last year, the LIRR had the worst on-time performance in 18 years. According to the state audit, in 2017 more than 21,000 trains were late, canceled or terminated — a 20 percent increase from the year before.

In a statement, Sen. Todd Kaminsky said LIRR riders “deserve a new leader who will demand immediate reform and who will level with and speak directly to them.”

Kaminsky said “tough and no-nonsense leadership is needed urgently for one of the most important commuter rail systems in the country.”


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