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Anonymous Winnipeg group witholds hidden camera footage; demands public inquiry into ‘slacking’ city workers

Global News / Joe Scarpelli

An anonymous group who released video of City of Winnipeg employees allegedly slacking off says they won’t release the full tape to the City until there’s a public inquiry.

A spokesperson for the group said while they have released video to media outlets, they will not release their footage to city officials until an independent public investigation is done.

The group paid $18,000 for private investigators to tail City of Winnipeg property and development staff, showing inspectors allegedly slacking on the job,

However, the City has launched an internal investigation and HR staff have interviewed more than 65 staff members with the public works department, said John Kiernan, director of planning, property and development.

There are currently no plans to launch a public inquiry.

READ MORE: EPC votes to make report of investigation into city workers allegedly slacking off made public

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In early April, video of City inspectors allegedly running errands on paid time and taking extended lunch breaks was released by an anonymous group of 14 people.

Since then, the City has opened an internal investigation and a motion has been moved at city hall to have the findings made public.

“We thought it was really important to go beyond just that work group that had been identified and include close to 70 staff as of last Thursday,” Kiernan said at city hall Tuesday.

The videos raised concerns about how inspectors were spending their time on the taxpayers’ dime. One video allegedly showed a city employee going to Costco for two hours before heading to Starbucks for another hour.

Kiernan said it’s common for inspectors to work flexible hours and this is arranged by the employee with their supervisor.

READ MORE: City investigating after ‘concerning’ hidden camera investigation of Winnipeg employees wasting time: Bowman

“Some have offered context around what they were observed doing out in the field,” he said, adding that they have not yet received “sufficient answers” for all of the allegations.

Kiernan said the investigation will scrutinize car logs, mileage reports and inspection reports next.

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He hopes to determine if these incidents are individual, or if they’re part of cultural norms within the department.

“We work for our neighbors, we work for our community. It’s about trust. Something like this undermines everyone’s trust in the public service.”

The city has not identified what will be included in the final report, but Kiernan said they hope to be ‘as completely open as possible.’

When that report will be released is not yet known.

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