The city of Columbus is expanding efforts to track workers using a GPS program.
The City of Columbus is expanding efforts to track city workers using a GPS program. The move comes after a series of Watchdog 10 investigations found Columbus city workers wasting time and money on the job.
The year-long Watchdog10 investigations found city cars and trucks idling and wasting gas while on the job. In one case Watchdog 10 caught a city worker making doughnut runs day after day.
Watchdog10 took its findings to the city of Columbus, and learned that in 2005 Mayor Michael Coleman ordered city workers to minimize idling to save fuel and track workers.
The city began installing automated vehicle location units in some vehicles, a GPS system that keeps an eye on workers.
City officials say the system has saved money and even caught one worker trying to beat the system. Files obtained by Watchdog 10 showed the man was visiting his girlfriend’s condo rather than a job site.
Officials said they were able to catch the worker, when he tampered with a AVL unit installed under the dash. City officials say he thought he had disabled it, but say it was secretly recording his every move.
The system has saved Columbus more than $260,000 in fuel costs for the utilities department alone, Williamson said.
The city is in the process of installing GPS systems in nearly all city vehicles at a cost of nearly $2 million.
"Obviously there's a cost to putting these in but after two to three years, you're going to see that these are going to save money far beyond what we spent to put them in," Williamson said.
"Fuel is just one area, you're going to see savings in terms of increased productivity, you're going to see savings in terms of less wear and tear on from driving fewer miles," Williamson said.
Williamson said workers slacking off on the job need to be held accountable.
“It's appropriate to make sure that those folks especially are following the rules," he said.
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