A worker from the city's Division of Power & Water resigned after he was accused of cheating by disarming a tracking device that kept track of the hours he worked.
Investigative files obtained by Watchdog10 through a public records request showed just how far Joshua Ruark allegedly went to get out of work, 10 Investigates' Paul Aker reported.
Since last summer, a global-positioning system started tracking every move Department of Public Utility employees, including Power & Water. According to the city, the system came with an unexpected feature that exposes workers who try to cheat the time clock.
The city placed the devices under vehicle dashboards. According to power investigators, Ruark accessed the area and disabled his system.
"We initially saw that there were problems with the data that was being reported by the (automatic vehicle location) system," said George Zonders, a Department of Public Utilities spokesman.
Zonders said the data discrepancy caused city workers to figure out what was happening with Ruark's system so they installed a dummy system under his dash.
According to the city, Ruark, who was trying to avoid detection for slacking on the job, then tampered with the dummy device.
"This is the first and only instance we've been able to determine someone has intentionally tried to disable the unit," Zonders said.
The city's trick worked, Aker reported. Secretly, the real system kept going and pinged Ruark's location. The files showed the location was at a condominium complex where his girlfriend lives and not on the job site.
Ruark was caught at the complex for 3-4 hours a day on two occasions, according to the city. He denied it in a handwritten note and claimed he was only at the condo to have lunch.
"I've never tampered with any AVL system," Ruark wrote in the note.
The city said that it has strong evidence of Ruark tampering with the system on 15 other occasions. He resigned rather than face a disciplinary hearing that would have likely resulted in his termination, according to a city document.
Ruark declined comment.
"The purpose of this AVL system is not to spy, but it certainly has that capability, so they certainly should be aware of that," Zonders said.
The new system also increases fuel efficiency, its primary purpose, and has already saved the city more than $100,000 this year, according to the city.
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