ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE)- The City of Albuquerque has starting making big changes after they found several of their thefts were by their own employees. More than a decade after the Solid Waste Department was rocked by scandal as workers stole on the job, and cheated on their time cards,the city is finally cracking down.
“We found a significant amount of money missing,” said Gilbert Montano, the Chief of Staff for the City of Albuquerque. He said one of their own employees at their Eagle Rock Convenience Center, used her own key to get into the facility at two in the morning and steal all the money in the register.
“We launched an internal investigation, an external investigation,” said Montano. The female employee was arrested and the City began to make changes. “That’s what you do when you’re facing issues like this, you face it and you fix it, and you hope it doesn’t happen again,” he said.
The City has since added cameras, a new coding system so they know who is in and out of the safe, have two cashiers on duty at all times, and no longer allow after hours access. “I think one is too many, to be honest with you,” said Montano.
But this isn’t the first time the city dumps have been the source of theft. “We realized they were taking materials, metal materials and then taking them to recyclers and reselling the materials,” said private investigator Bob Casey in a 2004 interview.
He found garbage employees were loading the goods into their own trucks, hauling it off and pocketing the profits. Montano said since then, they hadn’t had any issues until the 2015 theft, and he said they’re hoping it’s the last.
“We can’t make that guarantee or promise but we can say we’ve taken steps needed to necesitate the proper quality assurance in dealing with tax payer dollars,” said Montano.
In fiscal year 2016, the City’s drop off locations made 900 thousand dollars in revenue.