The head of the Transit Authority Police Department union has resigned his post and has been suspended from police duties for six months after an internal investigation revealed he was inappropriately receiving pay earmarked for union duties – the department’s third major fiscal transgression since 2010.
Edward Carney, a 12-year transit police veteran who last year took over as president of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority Police Benevolent Association, was found to be using 10 hours a week allowed for union business to attend his children’s hockey games in Rochester or other personal affairs. According to three sources familiar with the situation who asked not to be identified because they are not authorized to speak publicly, an internal Transit Police investigation determined the portion of his authority salary allowed for union business was inappropriately used.
The sources said no charges were filed.
The investigation, which the sources said included surveillance by a private detective, resulted in Carney acknowledging the transgression and accepting the suspension without pay. They also indicated department officials initially planned to fire Carney but deferred to the lengthy suspension because of family circumstances involving serious illness.
Two sources said a number of other police union officials also offered letters of support on his behalf.
NFTA spokesman C. Douglas Hartmayer said authority policy does not allow comment on personnel matters.
“But I can confirm Officer Carney has been suspended for six months without pay for repeated violations of department rules and regulations,” Hartmayer said.
The sources said suspicions were first raised by Chief George W. Gast, who did not believe Carney was appropriately using the hours allocated for union business. The surveillance then determined violations such as attending hockey games in Rochester or personal shopping in West Seneca. They also said Carney will be barred from patrol duties upon his return and be assigned to dispatch.
Fiscal violations have plagued the Transit Police Department since 2010, when a state comptroller’s audit revealed 11 transit officers cheated the NFTA out of $25,000 by working part-time jobs while on the authority’s payroll.
The audit, which dated to 2007, determined several officers had second-front security jobs at other public institutions – such as the Buffalo Board of Education and Erie Community College – when they should have been on transit patrol.
Four of the 11 officers were suspended without pay for periods ranging from 10 to 25 days after an internal NFTA investigation,
The authority also dealt with former Officer Charles Loubert in 2013, when he was accused of filing false overtime claims and collecting $11,000 in unearned pay. He pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors – petit larceny and falsifying business records – in Buffalo City Court.
The 12-year NFTA police veteran repaid the money and received a conditional discharge from City Judge Craig D. Hannah. Loubert’s thefts were discovered after other officers alerted superiors about irregularities in the time sheets, Hartmayer said at the time.
Hartmayer also said then that Gast launched an internal investigation and suspended Loubert without pay before he was fired.