CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - A picture of water department workers doing private work on city time and using city equipment really centers around four men.
One is Billy Hunter, who approved the work. He resigned just ahead of likely termination.
The other is Arlen Waters, who is on sick leave from the city. He owns a private plumbing company that undercut another contractor to get the illegal job.
The other contractor got upset and confirmed to 19 News that he reported it to the city.
“Yep, when that happens, that really makes me upset that they get away with it,” he said in a phone interview.
The fourth man is Michael Hansen, who we’ve learned through just released documents, was fired for exactly the same charges that were leveled against Hunter; a total of eleven, including illegal use of city property.
A question that needs to be asked is, should it take a disgruntled contractor and a 19 News story to blow the whistle on what’s going on?
The answer is no, and now we’ve learned the city had plenty of warning that it wasn’t getting its money’s worth.
A handwritten letter released with other documents details the abuse of overtime and several employees leaving early.
In 2018 the now-fired Hansen was given a written warning about being “AWOL.” He was warned and disciplined twice before for the same thing.
And in 2007, just a year after being hired, he was caught on camera again. This time, in a trench that had not been shored up to protect it against cave-ins.
The latest picture of the illegal excavation shows it is not shored up either.
The case proves a lot about supervision in the Cleveland Water Department and just how tough it is to fire public employees.