City inspectors busted for brunching

city hall-area buildings in portland
FILE - The commercial buildings as seen around Portland's City Hall building in downtown.

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — City inspectors are in trouble for taking longer breaks than they were supposed to instead of making sure Portland’s buildings were safe.

“I think everybody has done it once in a while,” said taxpayer Stephanie Luke. “But since they do work for the city, and I’m paying taxes for them, I would rather have them do their job — and do what I’m paying them for.”

The Portland Development Bureau took a complaint in November 2012 involving workers taking extra-long brunch breaks. The bureau reports that it took immediate action when the complaint was filed, and it’s now taking what it calls “corrective action” against the employees.

The bureau won’t confirm any details of the case — or specify what type of disciplinary action is being taken. However, they are taking a good deal of credit for responding to the complaint when it came in more than four months ago. Disciplinary actions, a spokesperson said, take time.

The Willamette Week is reporting these were electrical inspectors whose job is to look at commercial construction projects. The inspectors reportedly met as many as three times a week for extended breaks at Guild’s Lake Inn in northwest Portland.

But was the public’s safety compromised by workers taking those extra long breaks?

“I don’t believe there was any significant impacts around the investigation and the complaint,” Spokesman Ross Caron told KOIN 6 News. “Our day-to-day services were continuing unaffected.”

The bureau says it is testing GPS monitoring on its employee vehicle fleet — to try to prevent more incidents like this in the future. No word as to how much that will cost, or if any of those costs would be passed along to taxpayers.

“I would tell your listeners we take this very seriously,” Caron said, “in hopes that it does not happen again.”

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