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City IG finds timesheet fraud, misuse of vehicle by DPW employee

Baltimore City Inspector General Isabell Cumming's office was granted broader powers and independence in a 2018 ballot referendum. (File Photo)

Baltimore City Inspector General Isabel Cumming. (The Daily Record/File photo)

A Baltimore City Department of Public Works employee was terminated last month for submitting false timesheets and using a city vehicle for personal business, according to a report from the Office of the Inspector General.

The OIG received a complaint that the employee, who worked for the DPW’s Water and Waste Water Bureau, violated multiple policies in November and December of last year, including theft of time and falsifying timesheets, according to a report issued Wednesday.

Inspector General Isabel M. Cumming said it is valuable to pursue investigations of any size because it lets others know they will be held accountable too.

“A lot of what we do is the deterrent factor and letting people know that there is somebody watching,” she said. “It’s a small reminder that people are watching all the time and if something’s not fair, we’re usually going to get a call about it.”

After an investigation, it was determined that the employee had been disciplined by DPW in late November for transporting her child in a city vehicle and conducting other personal business on city time and without authorization, according to the report. The employee’s DPW partner was also disciplined for similar conduct.

The OIG found that the employee submitted timesheets and overtime slips for times she claimed to be working when she was not, according to the report, which added that the employee “regularly used the City vehicle for personal use, without informing management.”

The employee continued to use the vehicle despite pending discipline in November; the vehicle was found to be stationary at her home or at the home of her family members for hours while she was on the clock, according to the report.

The investigation “identified contributing factors” that allowed the employee to submit false timesheets, including inconsistent overtime procedures and inadequate management oversight, according to the report.

A city human resources officer submitted a memo to the OIG on March 18 reporting that the employee had been terminated due to “continued theft of time after being coached and disciplined for the exact behavior” in early December. A hearing was held Feb. 28 and the termination was made final on March 9.

Cumming said the OIG will turn over the case to city lawyers to see if any money can be recovered.

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