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28 Redding city employees popped for scavenging and thefts

Two city employees are gone, seven more have been disciplined and 19 others counseled in the wake of employee thefts from the city transfer station.

Redding City Manager Kurt Starman's office said today a comprehensive investigation of the Solid Waste Division was prompted by allegations that some
employees had scavenged items that were discarded at the station on Abernathy Lane.

City policy prohibits employees from scavenging ­­
or removing items from the normal waste stream for personal benefit.

The inquiry involved
interviews over several weeks, concluding with the disciplinary actions, said Bob Russell, director of Municipal Utilities.

Larry Miralles, Solid Waste Division manager, chose to retire effective June 27, 2008,
following allegations that he was paid by a city vendor for assembling waste containers on personal time but did not complete the work.

Results of a Redding Police Department
investigation were forwarded to the Shasta County District Attorney’s office, which chose not to file charges against Miralles. The amount in question, $932, was reimbursed.

The issue of
possible scavenging by employees surfaced during the investigation into Miralles’ activities.

One employee has resigned and another
was fired. One of those is now the subject of a police investigation into possible theft of metal that had salvage value of less than $400.

Five employees received one-­week suspensions from the job without pay and a
sixth received a two-­week suspension. A seventh was demoted.

All the punishments centered on allegations of excessive
scavenging of dumped items in violation of Solid Waste Division policy, Russell said, included discarded hot tubs, televisions and barbecues.

Nineteen other employees received counseling memos for conduct that involved keeping dumped items for personal use, such as broken tools, discarded household fans, rags and produce.

The investigation report remains confidential until the
employee disciplinary process is completed. At that time, appropriate documents will be released, said City Attorney Rick Duvernay.

Starman said the city acted swiftly and decisively in pursuing the incidents and has has been proactive in ensuring
that no more occur in the future.

He said Solid Waste is under new
management and employees have been counseled on city policies about scavenging.

“We are satisfied that the actions we have taken are appropriate and will
ensure the public’s continued confidence in the Solid Waste Utility.”

Starman said the
city was making public the results of the investigation, including the number of employees receiving counseling memos, in the interest of full transparency.

“We have many hard­working, productive employees within the city ranks,” Starman
said. “City employees receive fair pay and benefits in return for a fair day’s work. We expect city employees to perform the work they are paid to do. Anything less is a violation of the public trust and is simply unacceptable.”

From press releases.

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