ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The aftermath of asbestos exposure at the city’s Gateway Center construction site continues. A report from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) says a department director retaliated against employees who participated in the investigation. It also shows Human Resources may have not handled it properly.
The problems at the Gateway Center continue to come under scrutiny after the city’s Inspector General, and a News 13 Larry Barker Investigation, revealed asbestos problems at the city’s Gateway Center in spring of 2023.
Now, a new OIG report says employees who participated in that original investigation into asbestos faced retaliation for their involvement. According to the report, one director became obsessed over who participated and in a “heated” meeting, accused an employee of giving letters to the OIG for the original investigation, slamming their fists on the table. A memo to human resources says another employee stopped the meeting as it got heated, leading the department director to get in that staffer’s face.
In the end, the OIG concluded there was evidence the department director harassed city employees over their participation in the investigation. It recommended the city review the events to see if proper action was taken.
In response, the city said it reviewed the events. A meeting with HR was held in which the department director apologized. The city said there was no need to investigate further.
The OIG also found there was a lack of documentation of the matter by HR. In response, the city said the issue involved an unclassified employee and HR was allowed to resolve the issue at the lowest level possible. But the city says moving forward, it will document those complaints.