GPS Tracking Used in Identifying Sewer Employees Goofing Off on the Job

13 Mar 2018

Sewer workers have important jobs that ensure the safety of communities. When the city of Modesto found sewer workers goofing off rather than doing the jobs they were being paid to do, it had no choice but to take disciplinary action.

The wheels of justice are slow to turn in some areas. Modesto sewer workers earn between $54,264 and $76,488 annually and are responsible for cleaning, servicing, and repairing the nearly 60 sewer and stormwater lift stations in the city.

An investigation, taking a little more than five months to complete, revealed that four city employees had been engaging in a variety of activities other than their work responsibilities while being paid to work for the city. In fact, one of the four men facing discipline resulting from the investigation received a full day’s pay at least 43 times during the five-month investigation in which he worked fewer hours than required to do so. A second employee did the same 37 times during the investigation window with a third doing so 24 times and the fourth man getting paid a full day’s pay when not working the required hours 10 times.

One employee was fired in the aftermath of the investigation, which was conducted with the installation of GPS tracking and the data gathered as a result, though he is appealing the decision to an arbitrator. Two employees facing discipline resulting from the findings of the investigation have since retired while a fourth received a two-week suspension without pay along with one year of probation.

Part of the reason it took so long, five months, to conduct the investigation and even longer before taking action was the matter of a lack of staffing for the city and the complex legalities of an investigation of this nature which affords city employees union and legal representation, the rights to hearings, and due process rights as well.

The investigation was prompted by an investigation in which The Bee observed a city sewer worker appearing to nap in his truck while it idled for approximately 50 minutes, other employees taking extended lunch breaks, and one worker shopping at Lowe’s during work hours.

GPS fleet tracking can be instrumental in keeping sewer workers and other city employees on task when out of sight – but only if someone is monitoring driver activities on the other end.

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