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Pittsburgh public works employees should have known better, official says

Bob Bauder

A Pittsburgh Public Works Department salt truck driver has been suspended without pay and is facing termination after sideswiping three vehicles in Lawrenceville on Jan. 13, a city official said Friday.

The driver isn’t the only DPW employee in hot water, according to Guy Costa, the city operations chief.

Two other employees are being investigated for an alleged falsification of time sheets and a supervisor on Tuesday completed a five-day unpaid suspension for allowing workers to attend a retirement party on city time, Costa said. City officials declined to identify the employees.

“It gets frustrating because the employees know what the policies are, and they know what they should do and they don’t do that,” he said. “It’s just better to be honest. In the case of the accident, when the driver knew about it, he should have immediately reported it and everything would have been OK.”

The driver struck three vehicles and caused extensive damage after skidding down snow covered 54 th Street. He failed to report the accident immediately, according to city officials.

“Right now its in the hands of (Public Works Director Mike Gable) to make a decision on whether to terminate this employee, or bring back this employee, or make the employee pay the damages to all the vehicles,” Costa said. “You don’t leave the scene of an accident and do extensive damages to multiple vehicles.”

He said the supervisor in question recently permitted a number of employees to attend a retirement party for one of their co-workers while being paid by the city.

“The supervisor was told about it and he accepted the responsibility for it,” Costa said. “He returned to work today, and he was properly disciplined.”

The third incident under investigation involves an employee who allegedly rigged a time sheet so a co-worker, who came to work late, would be paid for a full eight-hour shift.

“Public Works is investigating that,” Costa said. “Once they complete their investigation, if necessary, they’ll discipline the individuals.”

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, [email protected] or via Twitter @bobbauder.