Extended breaks, long shopping trips: City building inspectors allegedly doing personal activities during work hours
Allegations of extended lunch and coffee breaks, long shopping trips, and being home by midday.
Several Winnipeg building inspectors may have been caught on video doing personal activities during regular work hours.
"My first thoughts obviously were of concern and anger as a taxpayer," said Mayor Bowman.
Following frustration over the length of time it was taking to get building inspections done, a group of 14 people made up of homeowners, contractors and business owners hired a private investigator to tail 17 building inspectors in February and March. The group wishes to remain anonymous but says it spent $18,000 of its own money.
"How pissed off do you have to be that you would go and hire a private investigator to look into this and that is troubling," said Property and Development Chair Brian Mayes.
The videos appear to show some of the city workers spending an hour and a half at Tim Hortons, as well as lunch breaks that go beyond an hour.
"I don't blame anyone for being concerned, we're all getting calls here getting emails," said Mayes.
In one case, a video allegedly shows what looks like a two-hour trip to Costco followed by another hour at Starbucks. Other videos allegedly show an hour and a half trip to a CrossFit centre, snow blowing a driveway, apparently in the middle of the afternoon and in multiple cases the private investigators says they found workers leaving early, arriving home in some cases at noon or 1:00 PM.
“They generally work business hours,” said City Chief Corporate Services Officer Michael Jack.
As a result, the City of Winnipeg has launched an investigation into the allegations.
"So we're obviously taking them incredibly seriously," said Jack.
The City says depending on what it finds, employees could be suspended even fired.
"If there are employees that are not playing by the rules, than the appropriate consequences result from that," said Mayor Bowman.
"I think that this is holding employees accountable on behalf of taxpayers," said Charleswood City Councillor Kevin Klein.
The department has 57 inspectors in total.