Daily Archives: November 9, 2008

A tale of two garbagemen


That pain is from a deep bite wound inflicted in the gluteal region of WGCL’s investigative unit.

Turns out, WGCL’s Wendy Saltzman was onto something when she pursued her ill-fated investigation into overtime at Atlanta’s sanitation department.  Saltzman viewed city records showing that sanitation workers racked up gobs of overtime.  Saltzman had a tipster who claimed that sanitation workers loafed during their shifts, then piled up overtime after their shifts were supposed to be over.  But Saltzman was unable to prove that claim, and her story fizzled.

garbagemenSaltzman had the right idea.  But WSB’s Jodie Fleischer got the goods.

Fleischer’s was the tale of two garbagemen.  They worked their routes and completed their garbage collecting duties.  But instead of taking the last truckload of garbage to the transfer station, they drove the truck to a house in East Point.  Then, they spent the afternoon chilling out.

Meantime, the garbage truck stayed parked in front of the house — with the engine on.  As rush hour ended, the sanitation workers would return to the truck and drive the last load of garbage to the transfer station.  The result:  a 12-hour workday, which Fleischer documented with city payroll records.

Fleischer’s story was excellent and great fun to watch.  She interviewed kids who lived in the neighborhood, who saw the garbage truck there every afternoon.  She interviewed an adult, who was understandably peeved that this foul truck parked in her neighborhood every afternoon.  She said it was obvious to neighbors that the sanitation workers were scamming their time cards.

And she showed the oil (and God knows what else) stains on the street where the garbage truck idled day after day.

Fleischer did the obligatory on-camera confrontation with the two workers.  They scampered off.  It didn’t matter.  Fleischer had them, cold.

It’s gotta suck to get fired from your job as a garbageman, a fate that will surely befall these two guys.  The city has already suspended them.

And it’s gotta suck to get beat on your own story, the fate that has befallen Fleischer’s competitor at WGCL.

As they say in Alaska:  Sometimes you get the bear, and sometimes the bear gets you.