Sacramento Solid Waste Employees Playing Basketball on the Clock

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SACRAMENTO --

Even in the fading light of a Wednesday evening in Sacramento, many cherish the few moments they can eek out around their busy schedules as county employees and dads for a little basketball.

"Good exercise, good cardio, keeps the brain sharp," said Wally Quaile, as he shot hoops with friends at Roosevelt Park.

This is what they choose to do with their down time -- off the clock.

The idea of a city employee getting paid to play during a work shift?

"Not during a work shift, uh uh," he said shaking his head.

"They're not working. It's like recess to them. Why are they getting paid?"

"Nooooo. I'm not OK with that," said Anthony Sandoval, as he spent some time on the courts.

But that's just what the city auditor says solid waste employees have been up to, trashing the idea of what most would think a taxpayer-funded workday should be.

"It's an inefficient practice which needs to be remedied," said auditor Jorge Oseguera.

A tip to his office's whistleblower line started an investigation about a year ago, alleging that trash truck drivers were finishing their routes early and then spending two to four hours at work playing ball or sitting around reading the newspaper.

The claims were confirmed  through semi-secret auditor ride-alongs and office visits.

"We don't necessarily disclose why we're looking into certain matters to everyone that we're interviewing or that we're working with" Oseguera said about his investigation.

Though deemed inefficient now, a few years ago, division policy actually allowed drivers with finished routes to just go home while still being paid for a full day's work.

Playing basketball or reading on site was considered an improvement.

Interim solid waste division manager Terrance Davis was unavailable to explain such decisions on camera, but did say by phone that schedules are being reviewed based on the auditor's findings.

It's something those who play ball off the clock say is long overdue.

To give a tip to the auditor and have anonymous follow-up communication with investigators you can dial (888) 245-8859 or log on to reportlineweb.com/cityofsacramento.

Those lines field about 160 tips each year.

Oseguera has asked Sacramento for $50,000 to $80,000 more to hire another investigator to possibly uncover more inefficient use of city money.

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