Chicago whistleblower: City employee wasting taxpayer money

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.

Simple enough, but that is not always the case if you're working for the city of Chicago.

A whistleblower who works for the water department said he was taken on a wild ride recently by a co-worker who wanted to kill time.

FOX 32: "Why'd you decide to blow the whistle?"

"Well this guy is wasting taxpayer's money. He's wasting fuel on trucks," said Bruce Randazzo.

Randazzo is a 15 year employee of the city's Department of Water Management. He sent a letter earlier this month to the department's commissioner, complaining about what happened during the early morning hours of April 4th.

Randazzo was teamed up with a water department plumber on an inspection team. He said they were given a list of 20 or so Northside addresses to check overnight for reports of water leaks in the street or broken sewers, none with priority.

FOX 32: "He told you where to go?"

"He tells me where to go and I wrote down a location," Randazzo said.

With Randazzo driving, the truck left the Sunnyside Yard on the Northwest Side shortly before midnight. His partner ordered him to drive, zig-zagging back and forth and up and down across the Northside district for hours. Randazzo said his partner was dividing up addresses that in some cases were just a couple blocks apart.

FOX 32: "What's going through your mind as you're driving all these long distances?"

"That this guy's screwing around. He's not wanting to do his job. He's wanting to waste time," Randazzo said.

According to Randazzo's vehicle log that night: the inspection team drove for four hours and 17 minutes, did inspections and took breaks totaling an hour and 28 minutes, and put 69 miles on their city truck.

FOX 32: "How long should this route have taken you?"

"About two hours," Randazzo said.

FOX 32: "You could have done it in two hours?"

"Two hours, two and a half hours it would have been done. And then we would have done more," he added.

So, FOX 32 checked it out ourselves. But this time we used GPS to organize the route and minimize the distance between stops.

Instead of a 69 mile trip, FOX 32's odometer read 29 miles. And instead of driving for more than four hours, we made the trip in heavier traffic in just an hour and 51 minutes.

Randazzo said it's happened multiple times with this co-worker, and he even wrote on the vehicle log that his partner picked the route.

FOX 32: "You talk to your bosses about this?"

"Oh I talked to the boss. The boss told me to leave him alone. He's a good guy. I showed him my sheet. I said this is ridiculous. He says get out of here, don't come back with this complaint no more," Randazzo said.

A water department spokesman said the boss denies having that conversation with Randazzo.

In a statement the spokesman said the department "... takes these allegations seriously and is currently looking into the matter....the urgency of each call for service takes priority over its proximity to other calls for service. Based on professional experience and expertise, it is up to the plumber foreman of the crew to prioritize the assigned workload for each shift."

Randazzo said on that particular night there were no emergencies, and none of the calls were prioritized, which is something the city denies.

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