19 News investigation into use of Cleveland Water Department equipment for private jobs widens after resignation

Cleveland Water Department workers were doing private work on your dime.

Investigation into use of Cleveland Water Department equipment for private jobs widens

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Cleveland Water Department workers were doing private work on your dime; a 19 News investigation into Cleveland Water Department workers taking on private work using city equipment on a side job is growing.

On Wednesday, the city has finally provided records that we’ve been after for nearly a month.

A picture 19 News found is worth a thousand words; a thousand or more words written in the Cleveland Water Department’s investigation of three workers.

The picture shows worker Arlen Waters down in the hole, and another worker named Mike Hanson at the controls of a backhoe.

19 News confirmed they were using city of Cleveland equipment to make a repair on a sewer line.

Documents show the work was done with the approval of Billy Hunter, their boss, who has since resigned. Waters has a plumbing company that lists his home as its address.

“He’s not here,” was all 19 News was told at the front door when we tried to contact Waters.

Later, Waters did call back.

We thought it would only be fair to give him a chance to explain what was going on.

19 News asked if Waters had any equipment and, if he does, why did they use city equipment.

“Well, you know it wasn’t anything that was done on a regular basis,” Waters replied.

We also obtained the disciplinary file for Hunter.

As mentioned, documents show he approved the side work and he also green-lighted jobs at a home on East 142nd as well as one on Pennington in Shaker Heights.

The city investigation revealed the lengths Hunter went to hide what was going on.

A day before some May work at the home in Shaker Heights, he called the water department and had the name on the work order changed to cover his involvement.

Hunter admits he approved the work.

A document, known as a pre-discipline report, lists 11 violations of policy.

Neglect of duty, dishonesty, unethical conduct on duty, theft and behavior that is illegal among them.

The final item behavior that is illegal is interesting.

Will police be notified of the theft?

As court records show, in the past couple of years, two employees who took scrap metals were arrested for thefts far less.

In case you were wondering, a small backhoe rental for a day is $377 per day, not taking into account any delivery charges.

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