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City employees being investigated?

 By Kevin Werner, News Staff

The Hamilton Police Service says it won’t confirm or deny media reports they are now involved in investigating 35 employees who have been suspended by the city over questionable activities.

“We are not confirming or denying it,” said Catherine Martin, spokesperson for the police service.

“We’ve had a number of calls on this.”

She said the police have not been called by the city to investigate the employees, who are alleged to have taken copper and asphalt from city property and selling it to recycling companies.

City of Hamilton officials remain tight-lipped over the suspension of about 30 employees last week after questions were raised about their on-the-job performance.

“The city is continuing its investigation into this confidential personnel matter,” stated Kelly Anderson, public affairs coordinator for the city’s public works department, in an e-mail response.

“The affected individuals are on leave pending the outcome.”

Ward 4 councillor Sam Merulla applauded the action the city’s senior management team took with the employees.

“They saw red flags and took action,” said Merulla, who said city officials conducted an inquiry before suspending the employees. “I commend SMT and the city for taking the pro-active action.”

Media reports stated that some employees, including supervisors of a road crew, were not properly using city resources, and there were concerns from city officials about how the employees were conducting themselves on the job. The city, apparently has been monitoring the employees, including using video surveillance.

Calls to the Canadian Union of Public Employees local 5167 were not returned seeking comment.

Andersonstated the city has a right to place an employee on leave with pay pending an investigation “regardless of whether or not the matter leads to disciplinary action.”

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