BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore’s public works department spent thousands of dollars paying employees who finished work early for full shifts and for overtime hours during their regular shifts, a report from the inspector general’s office found.

The report, released Tuesday, found trash collection workers who finished their assigned route early were then excused from work but paid for a full 10-hour shift. Many trash collection routes are able to be completed in six to eight hours.

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It also found workers who volunteered to pick up an additional route began collecting overtime pay at the time they began the second route, even if it was during their regular shift.

The unnecessary overtime was the result of the department’s interpretation of a memorandum of understanding with AFSCME Local 44, the union representing the employees, the report said.

That interpretation cost the city thousands of dollars in overtime pay; a more precise figure was not available.

The inspector general’s office also found the department spent hundreds of dollars on meal allowances “that could have been avoided.”

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In response, public works director Rudolph Chow said he and his staff will review collection routes and make changes where possible:

“I agree that solid waste routes should not be completed too quickly as that can indicate the routes are not mapped properly or that crews were not diligent while performing their work. Solid Waste managers are constantly examining routes to try and optimize efficiency. I have instructed Solid Waste Bureau Head John Chalmers to procure routing software that can optimize daily routes. I believe this software will address many of the issues in the timeliness of route completions.”

Also included in the report are multiple concerns about safety and sanitation at a DPW facility in the 6100 block of Bowley’s Lane. Chow said the department has sought estimates to address those issues.

Facility issues at DPW Southeast Quadrant building. Courtesy: OIG

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Inspector General Isabel Mercedes Cumming told WJZ the report stems from the May raids on multiple DPW trash yards. More details are expected in a comprehensive report that should come out in six to eight weeks.

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Read the full report here: Baltimore OIG DPW Report July 2019