Seven employees of the Fort Myers Public Works Department are facing fraud charges after investigators say they altered their time cards to get extra pay.
Fort Myers City Council met for a workshop meeting Monday, but the city’s public works department was not spoken about. Still, we spoke with two councilman afterward.
We obtained a memo City Manager Saeed Kazemi sent to council members and Mayor Randy Henderson. It revealed an audit done by an outside firm found city workers misrepresented “overtime hours worked.”
“If you submit a time sheet basically billing the city for a certain amount of money and it’s not accurate and, you’re getting more money than you worked for,” said Councilman Kevin Anderson outside council chambers. “In my opinion, that is a theft, and theft is a crime.”
The memo confirms the city fired both a public superintendent and senior supervisor. Five more employees still face disciplinary action.
Kazemi turned over the investigation to Fort Myers Police Department for possible criminal charges.
Councilman Johnny Streets spoke to us outside the council chambers, and he wondered why the case would not be handed over to a state attorney instead.
“When you say it’s handed over to the police department, well how many people are going to say well they still got their problems?” Streets said. “How are they going to look at someone else’s when they got other issues over there”
Both Streets and Anderson want to see an increase in public accountability. They both told us they still don’t know how much city money was stolen by the accused employees.
“It appears that we’re gettin information in bits and pieces,” Streets said. “Which, to me, is not being transparent enough.”
We reached out to FMPD and the city manager for a response to the investigation. FMPD said it could not respond during an open case, and we have not received a response from Kazemi.
Anderson said the city should audit all departments to make sure this problem is not happening elsewhere.
“There were some supervisors that were approving the time cards and should’ve been aware that they weren’t accurate,” Anderson said.