The Los Angeles City Council today ordered an investigation into city street repair crews who allegedly took unauthorized breaks and faked their work logs.
A Bureau of Street Services crew took a 40-minute breakfast break and did not arrive at the work site until three hours into the employees' shifts, according to claims made by CBS2 investigative reporter David Goldstein [see video above].
Goldstein, who followed several crews as they went about their work day repairing potholes, alleged another crew worked two hours out of an eight-hour shift.
He alleges in a report that aired Tuesday that work logs did not match up with what he saw the city employees' do and did not mention the breaks they took.
"Nothing can be more corrosive to the public trust than what Mr. Goldstein uncovered," City Councilman Mitch O'Farrell said in council today.
He said if the allegations against the workers are proven accurate, those employees should not be working for the city.
Councilman Joe Buscaino, who introduced an emergency motion calling for the investigation, said the media report "angered" him because it may taint the reputation of "dedicated, hardworking and highly skilled" city workers.
"This may reinforce the stereotypes of lazy, dishonest government employees, which is 100 percent false for the vast, vast majority of our public servants," he said.
His motion, adopted unanimously, tells the Bureau of Street Services to conduct an investigation into allegations made in the CBS2 report.
It also calls on BSS to report on how it currently assigns jobs, estimates the time and manpower required to complete them and how that work is verified.
BSS director Nazario Sauceda called the accusations "ugly" and asked that the council to give him the necessary time to conduct a thorough investigation.
Councilman Felipe Fuentes said the report came at an inopportune moment when the city is trying to persuade voters to adopt a half-cent sales tax increase to pay for street repairs. The report also aired in the middle of the city celebrating National Public Works Week, he said.
--City News Service