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Union, planning committee to probe Winnipeg city workers’ abuse of paid time

Click to play video: 'Union, planning committee to probe Winnipeg city workers’ abuse of paid time'
Union, planning committee to probe Winnipeg city workers’ abuse of paid time
WATCH: CUPE and the City of Winnipeg planning and development committee are looking into allegations of paid employees using work time for extended breaks and personal shopping – Apr 9, 2019

Questions continue to be raised after hours of surveillance and dozens of report pages showed City of Winnipeg employees appearing to waste time on the job.

CUPE President Gord Delbridge, head of the workers’ union, says they’ve been talking to the members involved.

“At this point in time, I don’t want to speculate on anything that’s taken place here,” he said.

“I don’t know the details of any flex time or banked overtime or vacation time that’s being used. It’s not uncommon for departments to encourage as a cost saving measure, to use vacation and banked time.”

A group of 14 Winnipeggers, who wanted to remain anonymous because they have business dealings with the city, paid $18,000 to hire Wilson Investigations Inc. to follow 17 employees in the city’s Planning, Property and Development department.

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The findings surprised the city, Mayor Brian Bowman and many councillors.

The video surveillance and reports appear to show the staff reporting to work at Fort Garry Place before being seen:

  • Going to Costco for nearly two hours before going to Starbucks for an hour
  • Going on errand runs to places like Dollarama, Liquor Mart, Superstore and Benjamin Moore
  • Spending about two hours at the gym
  • Two-hour stops at Tim Hortons
  • An employee snow blowing a residential driveway
  • Lunch at Hooters
  • Extended smoking breaks

WATCH: Mayor Brian Bowman says he shares taxpayers’ concerns about abuse of public funds

Click to play video: 'Winnipeg Mayor responds to ‘concerning’ complaint about city workers abuse of work time'
Winnipeg Mayor responds to ‘concerning’ complaint about city workers abuse of work time

St. Vital Councillor Brian Mayes chairs the city’s planning and development committee. He says he’s received a significant number of complaints from people in his ward.

“It’s very concerning. Obviously we got a lot of calls, a lot of emails from the public. We owe it to them to have an investigation,” he said.

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Mayes says he has a lot of questions himself, for which he does not yet have the answers.

“How long will this investigation be? What is being looked into? What can we do? What’s the proposed discipline if any? We don’t determine discipline here — that’s done by the directors and the CAO.”

“I met with the director today, I met with the person who is in charge of the permits. They’re both pretty upset with it, so they want to pursue it. The union wants an investigation.”

Mayes said city councillors who make up the planning and development committee will have the chance to ask the department more questions at the next meeting, which is April 23.

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