GPS Used to Monitor Government Employees
Posted on 22nd Aug 2012 @ 12:22 PM
GPS Tracking technology continues to become more advanced, and as it does so, the uses for them continue to expand. In this story, a government agency uses GPS trackers to track their employees’ whereabouts, and the data is a bit startling. After this discovery, one state worker resigned from his position and two others took a cut in pay. When the GPS trackers were placed on their vehicles, it was discovered that employees were taking unauthorized extended lunch breaks, coming in late and leaving early to work, and sometimes not showing to work at all without previously notifying their supervisors.
The GPS tracking devices were installed on the employees’ vehicles by State Alcohol and Tobacco Control Commissioner Troy Hebert. He released the following statement about the matter:
“You’re always going to have a couple of bad apples,” Hebert said. “I don’t think it’s widespread. I think it’s contained to a handful of agents.”
Hebert willingly accepted the resignation of one agent, he said, and demoted two other agents after looking at GPS reports on their movements.
Herbert chose not to reveal the identity of the agents, but did say that prosecutors are currently working for the State Alcohol and Tobacco Control Commission in order to see if the employees’ actions can be considered payroll fraud.
State Inspector General Stephen Street released a statement saying that he had no part in the investigation. Herbert also said that the demotions to the two employees will include a cut in pay. Herbert’s office is in charge of regulating alcohol and tobacco sales and usage. It is the job of many agents to monitor activity in bars and other areas.
In 2011, Hebert announced plans to eliminate six positions, including one held by the son of a state senator. To save money, he installed a time clock and stopped the practice of paying employees during their commute to work.
Agents were spending four days a week in the office when he became commissioner, Hebert said. He said he wanted them out in the field investigating bars and restaurants.
Because agents work across the state, Hebert said it was difficult for him to monitor their work days.
GPS devices were installed on agents’ vehicles about a year ago, he said.
Agents knew about the devices, which tracked their movements and locations, Hebert said.
The tracking information showed agents leaving home late and going home early, he said. One agent, Hebert said, did not report to work at all on Wednesdays.
Hebert said he sat down with agents after looking at the GPS readouts.
Some, he said, had plausible excuses. For example, some agents explained they rode with another agent to work a detail, leaving their vehicles at home.
Hebert said other excuses were not as plausible.
At least one agent claimed to be monitoring a police scanner at home when he was not on the road, Hebert said.
So far, action has been taken against three of the office’s approximately 40 agents. Hebert said more punishments could be coming as his investigation continues.