YONKERS — A scathing new watchdog report finds that Department of Public Works employees are playing hooky at taxpayers’ expense.
In findings released Friday, Yonkers Inspector General Kitley Covill cited numerous personnel problems in the DPW, ranging from absenteeism and timecard inaccuracies to concerns about nepotism and questions about who’s in charge on a given day.
Covill said some employees are working second jobs on city time or leaving hours before their workday is over.
Most trash collectors, for instance, work from 6 a.m. to between 10 a.m. and noon, even though their contractual workday is 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., she found. And while some supervisors work a full eight hours, others are cutting out early, despite having the same or similar titles and pay rates.
Covill said that one employee told her he has been spending 45 minutes to an hour each day for at least a year performing an undisclosed “personal” task on the job. Another worker was caught using his city email and title to send messages for a second job. Yet another employee, she wrote, “was evasive and did not answer questions about why he spent many hours during the regular work day at home” — but did confess to having another job at home.
Covill also reviewed a small sample of city vehicle GPS records to find that some DPW employees are not attending to their job duties and breaking the speed limit. DPW supervisors “have been observed multiple times sitting in various restaurants in Yonkers during the morning,” she wrote. And some employees appear to be taking meal breaks that they falsely claimed to have foregone to justify leaving early at the end of the day.
The inspector general also called it an apparent conflict of interest to have members of the same family or labor union supervising each other within the DPW, particularly when some supervisors don’t appear to be as versed as they should be in disciplinary procedures.
Because the department rotates some supervisors on a daily basis, she said, there has been confusion about “responsibility and accountability.” So Covill has recommended that upper management clarify the chain of command.
In her report, she also suggested that DPW managers receive supervisory and disciplinary training; clarify the rules about breaks; and periodically check the accuracy of sign-in and sing-out sheets.
Her other recommendation include requiring all city employees to disclose second jobs; implementing a written policy about going home during the workday; and restructuring the DPW to ensure fellow union members and relatives don’t supervise each other.
The mayor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.