October 21, 2014
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In response to TV story, city releases video showing worker 'borrowing' time cards
SURVEILLANCE: With three local reporters in his office, Mayor Scott Avedisian, along with acting Director of the Department of Public Works, David Picozzi, as well as Bob Denis, show surveillance footage of a former DPW employee removing time cards from DPW headquarters. The mayor and his staff looked into the situation after the media contacted them with evidence that certain DPW employees were “wasting taxpayer money.”

In the wake of a WPRI Channel 12 investigative story on Department of Public Works (DPW) Employees “buddy punching” time cards May 10, Mayor Scott Avedisian made public yesterday city videos showing an individual removing time cards and then returning them after they were presumably photographed or copied.

The mayor and DPW Acting Director David Picozzi also said all four men involved in the “buddy punching” were disciplined. It appears the Channel 12 report was based on the copied time cards.

“We had an issue where people were allegedly ‘buddy punching’ other employees of the water department in before 7 a.m., though they don’t get paid before seven,” said Avedisian. “We went back to look at what happened, checked the overtime and there was no overtime associated with those weeks in question.”

Picozzi elaborated and said that four water department employees report to DPW headquarters at 925 Sandy Lane around 6:15 every morning. They meet for morning coffee in the break room until starting their workday at seven, Picozzi said.

On three occasions, said Picozzi, one of the “numerous” DPW surveillance cameras that were installed at least four years ago revealed that one employee was, in fact, punching in three other workers. However, the other employees were standing in the same room in view of the camera when they were clocked in.

“Although we don’t encourage that, they were all present when they did that and we have brought them all in and talked to them saying that’s not allowed,” Picozzi said. “They said, ‘Gee, we didn’t think we were doing anything wrong. We knew the camera was there.’ We said, ‘That’s fine, but no more.’ There was discipline involved, but I won’t get into that.”

Picozzi also said, “These are guys that don’t call in sick and come to work early every single day. On the job, they are all outstanding workers.”

While Picozzi did not show video that revealed the “buddy punchers,” he did show surveillance of a former DPW employee who worked second shift for the water department remove and return the time cards in question.

The video reveals a man wearing a black baseball cap and dark sunglasses enter DPW at 9:30 a.m. March 23 and exit shortly after with time cards poking out from the back pocket of his pants. Then, the man met with what Picozzi believes is a gray Ford F150 in the parking lot before returning the time cards at 9:38 a.m.

“We assume that’s when they photographed [the time cards],” Picozzi said.

Moreover, Avedisian and Picozzi said they recently held a meeting with the individual who “borrowed” the time cards; however, it wasn’t particularly pleasant. They hoped to meet with him again to hear more of his side of the story but were unable to, as he was arrested and charged by Warwick Police for an armed robbery. He has been charged with three armed robberies, the mayor said.

“We have had no further conversation with him because he’s currently incarcerated and charged with three armed robberies of three gas stations in the city of Warwick,” Avedisian said. “We have to now wait to see how the case progresses and see if there are any additional charges added based on what’s going on here.”

Avedisian went on to say that the employee has self-terminated from the department because he failed to report to work for five consecutive days. The reason? He was incarcerated.

“The investigation will continue if we have a chance to talk to him,” Avedisian said. “If more comes out of this we will let you know.”


Comments
4 comments on this item

So let me see if I understand this. Picozzi says the 4 guys who were punching each others cards were disciplined but they did not comment on how and dont show the video of them punching the cards. The 2 guys from the last issue who are 2 different guys have not been disciplined. Picozzi and the mayor state that even though they punched in early, they did not get paid overtime but the mayor and Picozzi refuse to offer the pay stubs as proof even though the time cards indicate overtime hours. Just how much BS are we supposed to believe, from a high school drop out who attempted to squash a grand larceny by instituting a "borrowing policy"? Yes Dave, you look very credible!

I though you were leaving town Rob? Still have to make the final last garble of crap...

Just change the name of the "beacon" to the mayors pr department. Why won't Picozzi let us know what the discipline was? And if it was as innocent as he says, Why was any discipline needed.

Yo Mayor Scottie; Did anyone think to call Col. McCartney? Yo Dave, Theft of service, fraud, conspiracy, (more than one rocket scientist involved)...how about...TERMINATION...and not by missing five consecutive days! A Director and a Mayor...you look like a bunch of sissies afraid of your own shadows. By the way, there is 11% unemployment in this State...Might be some folks who are honest that would kill for an opportunity to have those jobs, ya think? How much credibility and trust do you think you have by keeping the Chief out of that meeting? According to your own Charter and book of ordinances, it sure as hell looks like a felony...Hey Dummycrats, you find a candidate for Mayor yet? How about Raleigh Jenkins, at least he's honest.

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