So, we asked about the money and punishment.
In March, we revealed a plow driver paid with big money he didn’t deserve. Now, the I-Team has found the plow driver has to pay back the taxpayers, but no one faces punishment.
Records show the driver ended up overpaid $70,000 over 13 months.
The city found it happened due to a “clerical error” with the driver paid up to $115/an hour. Now, an agreement shows the worker repaying the extra money. Largely, paying it back at $250 a paycheck.
But, what happens if that worker leaves for another job? The agreement says he will have to keep paying back the City $250 every two weeks.
In April, we questioned the Public Works Director, asking, “How does nobody catch that?”
At that time, he told us the city was investigating. Now, we’ve learned the public works director, the streets commissioner and others got a letter of reinstruction.
One letter says “this mistake should have been detected.”
Others say, “review all pertinent policies and procedures related to your work so that an error such as this does not happen again.”
But, the letters are not formal disciplinary action.
“We’re gonna ask some questions,” Councilman Kevin Bishop, who heads a committee overseeing Public Works, told us Monday. “We want a full full briefing on what happened. Why did it happen? Who’s responsible? And, what are we gonna do, so it will never happen again?”
The mayor’s office issued a statement, saying:
A pre-disciplinary hearing was held, the employee was advised, several other employees were issued letters of reinstruction, and the City moved to collect reimbursement. These corrective actions – along with additional instruction focused on training the employees who were involved and a restructuring of the department to incorporate more checks and balances – were taken to mitigate the risk of a similar clerical error occurring in the future.
The important thing that taxpayers/your viewers should know is that the overpaid employee has since made multiple repayments and the City is working with our collection firm to ensure the full amount is repaid.
The repayment agreement shows the worker will, actually, repay $41,741.10. The document shows that number is the amount owed recalculated after taxes. The internal review did not result in any criminal charges.
In June, taxpayer watchdog Therese Pohorence said, “I want them to be more accountable.”
She added, “I want them to end errors. End errors.”