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MTA Business Service Center Is Now Operational

Mr. Leonard DeSimone, President — MTA Business Service Center, was the guest at PCAC’s December 2008 quarterly meeting. He explained how the MTA Business Service Center (BSC) came into being as a result of numerous studies that were conducted to look at shared services among the agencies. Mr. DeSimone participated in these studies when he was Chief Financial Officer at Metro-North Railroad (MNR). In February, 2008 he was named President of the MTA Business Service Center (BSC). Mr. DeSimone reports directly to MTA Chief Executive Officer, Lee Sander. He said having the support of top management was absolutely necessary to ensure that the effort would be successful.

The BSC provides standardized support services to all the MTA agencies. The goal is to generate cost savings, better services and opportunities for MTA personnel.

Mr. DeSimone meets monthly with the procurement officers, chief information officers and human resources staff from the various agencies. One objective is to allow the employee to “self service”. For example, an employee can go onto the computer and change their tax exemption status whenever necessary. Merging many of these functions will eliminate redundancies that now exist.

Mr. DeSimone helped implement the MTA PeopleSoft system (a personnel software program) at MNR. PeopleSoft enables supervisors to track employee work flows. Mr. DeSimone said that Phase 1 of the BSC is to build a single PeopleSoft system for all the agencies. Phase II will include development of an Electronic Employment Screening program. He said that the individual agencies will interview and chose candidates for open positions, but the BSC will do all the background checks on the individuals.

Mr. DeSimone estimates there will be a reduction of 259 employees ($30 million yearly savings) with the completion of work for Phase I work. He said they anticipate a payback in four years, but it could be less time if it all goes well. BSC anticipates a $50 million cost savings with full PeopleSoft implementation.

BSC is helping MTA Bus with their new timekeeping system as well as implementing inventory management systems. For the LIRR BSC has implemented E-Recruit. He said to date the LIRR has processed 18,000 resumes.

DeSimone projected that the payroll systems for all the agencies will go live in January 2011; however, the NYCT’s and Bridges and Tunnels’ date has been extended until 2012 because of the Civil Service and Department of Citywide Administrative Services requirements. He expects BSC to be profitable in 2014-2015.