ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) — A two-month long undercover investigation revealed three employees who work in the field as inspectors for the city's planning division spent their job time doing everything but an honest day's work.
Surveillance video shows the three inspectors gambling, shopping, running errands and visiting with friends. City officials said they got a tip about the three disappearing from work for hours at a time.
"They'd drop off their city vehicle, and they'd get in their personal vehicle and go about their personal business," said Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry.
Video shot by Robert Caswell Investigators showed one woman visiting Sandia Casino on June 21 and June 26. On both occasions, she is seen playing penny slots for hours.
One morning, she is gambling at 8:55 a.m. even though her shift begins at 6 a.m., said Perry. Officials said she told her supervisors she was going to a doctor's appointment.
The woman, who has been with the city nearly 26 years, resigned on Sunday. She was making $20.63 an hour, according to the city's transparency website.
"This lady said she's got a gambling problem," said Perry.
Another employee caught on video was seen making multiple stops, first to get his car serviced, then shopping at Lowes and Home Depot. Investigators said the inspector didn't do any work for the two weeks they followed him.
Perry said he didn't deny it when the city confronted him with the evidence.
"He said, 'I was going to come in here and give you a big song and dance, but I've been doing this a couple of years now,'" said Perry.
Perry said other workers were seen parking their personal cars at friends' houses and staying there for hours.
"Reality is they had discretion of being out in the field doing their jobs," Perry said. "With that we trust they're doing inspections and other work."
Now the city is taking some steps to make sure inspectors with the planning department know that if their cars stay parked for hours and buildings aren't getting checked out, they won't get away with it.
"We're looking at the corrective action to the use of tracking devices, technology, work plans, supervision, the number of hours worked," said Perry.
The two other inspectors are on paid suspension awaiting personnel hearings.
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