ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A new report shows city workers at the Albuquerque International Sunport may have been padding their time cards day after day. This is the second time there’s been an investigation into timecard fraud in the Aviation Department in less than a year.
A tip came in to tell the city look into aviation workers collecting pay they didn’t earn. The city’s Inspector General then looked into 15 employees in the Finance and Warehouse Divisions to see when people were clocking in and actually showing up to work.
The investigation found timecard discrepancies among employees and ‘evidence of misconduct through timekeeping related to two employees.’ According to the report, one employee went into work at least 15 minutes later than their recorded clock-in time on 34 different occasions over a four-month period. That’s at least eight and a half hours of overtime.
The report also found employees’ key cards being used while they were off work and people sharing log-in credentials to the time card system. Investigators also received a recorded conversation among staff about one of the employees in question.
A staffer said they knew about the issue but said, “they can never clock in on time, that’s what they do, but because they are so good at the core functions of their job everybody kind of lets it go.” The staffer goes on to state, “I am not burning down my entire relationship with E9 and going down a disciplinary path for her being late five minutes every day when everything else with her work ethic is okay.”
The other employee says, “you do realize you are giving her an hour free of work.” The staffer replied, “what are we supposed to do, police it and fire good people.”
This isn’t a first for the Aviation Department. Last June, the OIG found a shift supervisor pulled in an extra $5,000 for hours he didn’t work.
The OIG report stated employees concerned about timecard fraud brought their concerns up to management on three occasions. According to the report, on two occasions management said they would address it but there is no evidence anything was done. The OIG said the lack of response from management results in low morale among employees.
The Inspector-General gave eight recommendations to the department, including tightening up its time card policies. The Aviation Department did not give KRQE an interview but in an emailed statement said, “the Sunport will carry out the actions identified within its responses in the OIG report.”