29 Hamilton city workers sacked for 'inappropriate behaviour'

A public works employee removes snow in this file photo. (QMI Agency Files)

A public works employee removes snow in this file photo. (QMI Agency Files)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:57 AM ET

Hamilton, Ont., fired 29 road repair workers over allegations they weren't doing their jobs, a city official said.

The city sacked 29 workers and suspended two more for "neglect of duties, time theft and/or breach of trust."

City manager Chris Murray said the city launched an investigation when staffers realized potholes were not being filled.

The city analyzed GPS tracking records from municipal vehicles and hired private investigators last October to follow some of the employees. The

surveillance indicated that the workers were visiting coffee shops, running errands or just sitting at home instead of doing their jobs.

Murray said the workers were fired out of respect for taxpayers.

"We have an infrastructure problem here in Hamilton," he said, "so we take very seriously how we maintain our roads, and when you don't, then you incur capital costs that you might otherwise expect."

"The inappropriate behaviour of this group of employees is very disappointing, but it is not reflective of all public works staff," said Gerry Davis, the public works general manager.

Murray said the city has been "in communication" with police over a possible theft, but no charges have been laid.

"We're gonna cross that bridge when we get to it," he said.

The city is also investigating the fired workers' supervisors.

"They had certainly oversight over what the crews were expected to do each day and ensure that that work was getting done."

The workers' union, CUPE 5167, vowed to "represent the investigated workers to ensure due process is followed."

-- With files from Alex Mihailovich


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