Home Asides Father/son duo dismissed as signal scandal expands

Father/son duo dismissed as signal scandal expands

by Benjamin Kabak

As New York City Transit continues to investigate the signal inspection scandal that has plagued the authority for a better part of the last year, the latest pair to get the axe are a father-and-son team who used nepotism to their advantage. As Pete Donohue reports, Patrick Sohan and his dad of the same name were dismissed after a series of illicit dealings. The younger Sohan requested time off ostensibly to see his sick grandmother when in fact he was in jail for violating his probation. The elder Sohan signed off on the time-off request knowing full well where his son was heading. The Post broke that story earlier this week.

Meanwhile, investigators are looking into KJ McGinley Electrical Contracting, the company where the Sohans allegedly gained enough experience to work on the tracks. KJ McGinley has been, according to the News, “unable to provide any documentation, like a pay stub or tax form, proving their experience.” The MTA Inspector General and Manhattan DA have yet to decide if they will pursue criminal charges in the case, but this won’t be the last we’ll hear from the signal inspection investigations.

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Andrew D August 4, 2011 - 4:09 pm

If he, in fact, misrepresented his experience, isn’t that a failure of the Civil Service system, and not necessarily of the MTA?

I tell you, of all the city agencies, DCAS has to be one of the most useless.

nycpat August 4, 2011 - 6:23 pm

DCAS administers the tests for NYCTA and B+T. My fingerprints and background info were taken by NYCTA, not DCAS. DCAS takes you’re prints and I.D. at the test to verify who took the test; not for background purposes, they don’t hire you.
I think DCAS does an OK job with what they’re tasked with. NYCTA HR not so much.

Andrew D August 4, 2011 - 7:36 pm

“DCAS takes you’re (sic) prints and I.D. at the test to verify who took the test; not for background purposes, they don’t hire you.”

But they do say who is qualified for the job (based on test scores and/or education & experience) and put them on a list for the agencies to hire from. If the agencies still have to verify that information, what is the purpose of the middleman?

Wouldn’t it be more efficient for the MTA to test their applicants once their qualifications have been verified?

Anon August 4, 2011 - 7:54 pm

The exams are part of the qualification process.

nycpat August 4, 2011 - 8:03 pm

No because not everyone passes the test with a realistic grade for being hired. Of those who pass many( more than 80% ?) don’t take the job. Once hired some don’t pass the initial training and some don’t make it through probation. So DCAS collects $60 per test taker and hands the TA a list of people who have passed a test and sworn that they meet all qualifications.
For a skilled position like Signal Maintainer you’d think there would be more stringent background and practical testing. I’m sure there is but this guys father intervened and rigged it for him. He didn’t get away with it ultimately because other civil servants resented this and ratted him out.

Anon August 4, 2011 - 8:28 pm

I’m not advocating it or saying it makes sense. This test factory seems to serve a purpose or two: To employ those who administer tests or to generate revenue for the city.

Andrew D August 4, 2011 - 9:31 pm

“No because not everyone passes the test with a realistic grade for being hired. Of those who pass many( more than 80% ?) don’t take the job.”

You’re making my argument for me. It IS more efficient if NYCTA tested only applicants that A) were already verified to have the necessary experience and B) were interested in the job, they would get A) more skilled applicants who would more likely pass the test and B) a much greater % of applicants willing to take the job.

Better pool of applicants to choose from, which leads to a better quality of employee in the end, which is good for everyone.

Adirondacker12800 August 4, 2011 - 9:42 pm

And administering tests is relatively cheap. Doing background checks isn’t,
Do the background check and then the applicant fails the exam you did the background check needlessly.

nycpat August 4, 2011 - 10:29 pm

No. These are basic multiple choice tests to get a basic pool of applicants. The tests weed out thousands who can’t score above 90%, thousands you don’t have the expense of investigating.
At times tests are so popular that you can only take them by lottery. Why do backgrounds when by the time you get around to their file number they are no longer interested in the job.
It has to be much cheaper(and fairer and more transparent) to winnow the pool of applicants by giving them an initial multiple choice test.
Remember the elimination of political patronage and favoritism is part of the equation.

Anon August 4, 2011 - 7:50 pm

Re: DCAS administers the tests for NYCTA

No longer true.

nycpat August 4, 2011 - 8:15 pm

There are no tests scheduled for 2012 that I see, but they still have archival NOEs. I don’t know, I think I would have heard about it.Wouldn’t it be a front page story in the Chief?
Don’t confuse MTA and NYCTA and different classes of jobs within NYCTA.

Anon August 4, 2011 - 8:26 pm

the DCAS website says that as of last month they are no longer administering transit’s exams. Looks like they did it on the stealth… though Bloomy had a big push for it at the beginning of the year

nycpat August 4, 2011 - 8:33 pm

I just saw it. I don’t see how it’s cheaper for NYCTA to do this. I’m VERY surprised. I apologize.

Anon August 4, 2011 - 8:47 pm

cheaper for DCAS 😉

sharon August 4, 2011 - 4:10 pm

How does this guy have the time to run a company along side his FULL TIME job overseeing a department at the MTA.

How? He was supervising nothing. major problem

It reminds me of the guy who was in charge of elevator repair at the NYCHA. He had all the mechanics working in his business repairing office building elevators at night and they slept all day when they were not fixing the NYCHA elevators

Transit Boy August 4, 2011 - 4:48 pm

Well Ben,not to say I told you so but Mr. Sohan (the Sr. Thug) got to his high position as a result of Howie Roberts stellar Line General Manager Program. Three cheers for ‘Wrong Way’ Howie!

Andrew August 4, 2011 - 6:44 pm

Maybe it’s time for NYCT to take down this press release:

Anon August 4, 2011 - 7:59 pm

can we wait for the two year anniversary to do that?


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