CLEVELAND-- A FOX 8 I-Team hidden camera investigation has sparked an avalanche of outrage from city council members to citizens. And while the I-Team exposed a waste of taxpayer dollars, we found city hall looking to spend even more money to make up for what city crews are not getting done.
This week the I-Team revealed Cleveland city tree trimming crews hitting the streets late, heading in to quit for the day hours early, and taking extra long breaks in between.
We found that even though those crews are behind on cutting down 3,500 dead and dangerous trees. And the workers are on a 23-year cycle for getting around to all city neighborhoods. Plus, the city recently raised taxes promising better city services. Yet that’s not what we saw.
Councilman Brian Kazy is demanding city hall bosses do something to stop what we uncovered.
Kazy said, “I’m aggravated and frustrated.” He added, “Yes, I blame the workers even though we’ve got some good workers. But the supervision or lack thereof is a major fault of this department.”
And Councilman Mike Polensek said, “When are the bosses being held accountable? Start demoting them.”
Even as the I-Team found city crews killing time on your dime, we also found the city has been spending hundreds of thousands of dollars hiring private workers to help those crews catch up. And now, city hall is asking Council to spend more of your money to pay for more outside workers next year.
Days ago, we went to the Cleveland Public Works Director; he couldn’t explain to us why his managers didn’t see what the I-Team found easily—crews not putting in a full hard day’s work.
As we shot the original story, taxpayers told us they saw it themselves. Some even noticed crews moving slowly and getting little done, and then they suddenly started working hard when an I-Team camera showed up.
City hall says it is conducting an internal investigation. We’ll let you know the results, if any workers and supervisors are held accountable, and if anything changes.