Fallout from property department investigation sees 3 workers suspended, 3 gone for good: city
Published Tuesday, July 9, 2019 5:56PM CST
Last Updated Wednesday, July 10, 2019 6:37PM CST
There’s fallout from the investigation into the activities of Winnipeg building inspectors.
Following allegations city property inspectors were taking long breaks, lengthy shopping excursions and going to the gym on the job, the City of Winnipeg says discipline has been handed down.
"We want to make sure people are being held, held accountable," said Mayor Brian Bowman
The city said three building inspectors have been suspended without pay pending the outcome of city hall's internal investigation. Winnipeg’s director of human resources Angie Cusson said two others involved quit and another retired. Cusson noted more punishment could come as early as next week.
"We expect that that number will increase," she said.
The city said its probe examined:
- 80,000 entries into the property department's system;
- 1,500 daily inspection sheets and mileage;
- 65 employee files;
- 80 interviews were also conducted.
But most helpful, said Cusson, the video surveillance package the city recently purchased for $18,000, allegedly showing the workers slacking off.
She said that prompted the city to re-interview 10 building inspectors and four supervisors.
"The video material and the materials also provided, demonstrated inconsistencies in what we heard," said Cusson.
CTV News has not independently verified the videos.
Lawyer John Prystanski represents the anonymous citizen group who hired a private investigator to follow and record the city workers.
"It does sound like they're bringing the hammer down," said Prystanski.
Prystanski said his clients are happy the city is taking action. He said they may still call for an external inquiry depending on the results of the city's investigation and how much of it is made public.
"We want to make sure that this never happens again, we want to make sure that the city employees do their job," said Prystanski.
The city said the investigation is set to wrap up this month followed by a final report with disciplinary results and recommendations for improvements.
The mayor is vowing to release it as soon as possible.
"Making sure that that's available publicly for Winnipeggers to review and scrutinize," said Bowman.
Even though the probe and final report are not done, the city said it’s already made changes in the wake of the allegations.
Employees are required to file daily logs of activities outside of the office, flex hours are now documented on employees files, field notes are required in real time and mileage claims are being audited.
With six employees gone and maybe more to come, the city said service is an issue. It sent CTV News this statement:
“The loss of some staff members will have an impact on our service, however recruitment is currently underway to fill the positions and we have also adjusted workloads to accommodate the current inspection load.”