A City of Hamilton employee has been fired after it came to light that they were occupying a vacant city-owned housing unit for personal use, according to a recent report from Hamilton’s auditor general.
In a report on the city’s fraud and waste hotline, which is on the agenda at this week’s city council meeting, Hamilton’s Auditor General Charles Brown said the employee used the apartment “for an extended period of time without the knowledge or authorization of management.”
The employee, the report adds, even carried out renovations on the space they were illegally occupying, modifications that were for “personal use and benefit” and paid for by the City of Hamilton.
Details of the renovations were not provided but the report states that there was “overall waste of about $9,900.”
Another employee, who was “accountable for oversight of the unit,” was aware that the apartment was being occupied but “did not report it to management,” the report adds.
Both employees were fired, the auditor general confirmed.
The location of the unit was not provided and it is not clear exactly when the employee occupied the space but the auditor general notes that complaints included in the report were made to the hotline between July 2022 and June 2023.
A series of recommendations were made in the report to prevent situations like this from happening in the future, including unannounced checks on city assets and better tracking and inventory management.
Employee worked second full-time job for different municipality: report
Another incident identified in the report outlines how a full-time city employee simultaneously worked a second full-time job in a similar position for another municipality.
“The overlap occurred during the period that COVID-19 working from home policies were in effect,” the report states.
“At the time OAG (Office of the Auditor General) investigators met with the respondent to follow-up on the complaint, the employee had already resigned from the City after management had attempted to meet with them to discuss repeated absences.”
According to the auditor general, the former employee admitted that they had in fact worked two full-time jobs at the same time for different municipalities but claimed the “duties were executed at different times of the day with no overlap.”
“AG requested information from the respondent to substantiate this claim, however as of this date it has not been provided, even after many months,” the report read.
The Office of the Auditor General continues to investigate, the report states.
The city’s Fraud and Waste Hotline, which was launched in 2019, aims to provide City of Hamilton employees, contractors, vendors, and members of the public a “convenient” and “confidential” way to report wrongdoing.
The auditor general noted that there was a 49 per cent year-over-year increase in reports this year, with 159 reports filed.