I-Team: City work crews caught not working

CLEVELAND -- A FOX 8 I-Team hidden camera investigation has found Cleveland city work crews going out to job sites late, quitting early, and taking long breaks.

This comes after Cleveland City Hall raised your taxes and promised more and better city services.

For parts of five days, the I-Team followed city tree-trimming crews. We watched them since they have a backlog of thousands of dead or dangerous trees that need to be cut down. And they are on a 23-year cycle for getting around to city neighborhoods.

But we saw crews hitting the streets more than half an hour later than they should, and we found some heading back to their headquarters 1-2 hours early.

Meantime, the crews get 30 minutes for lunch. But we saw them routinely taking an hour.

You get the idea.

Workers we approached refused to talk to the I-Team.

So we took our video to city hall, showed it to Public Works Director Michael Cox and asked him, ‘Where’s the management?’

Cox answered, “That's what I'll find out. Management should be bringing that to us.”

We reminded him his managers did not catch this; the I-Team exposed it.

Cox added, “My supervisors will be held accountable.” And he said, “This is the exception, not the rule. People are working hard every day.”

But the I-Team had no trouble finding workers killing time. And even taxpayers we met had noticed.

City hall said it had already started an internal investigation into workers not putting in a hard day’s work previous to the I-Team’s findings.

Now an internal investigation will look at all of this.

However, Cox wouldn’t talk specifically about what might happen to those breaking work rules. He said, “We'll handle that internally.”

The I-Team will follow up on what comes out of the internal investigation.