Police investigating allegations against street department employees

2013-08-15T15:43:00Z 2013-08-15T21:40:11Z Police investigating allegations against street department employeesJoyce Russell joyce.russell@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2222 nwitimes.com

PORTAGE | Five Portage street department employees were suspended with pay Thursday pending a police investigation.

Police Chief Troy Williams confirmed that their department received a report filed by a non-city employee Thursday morning. Williams said he could not speak to the details of the report as the allegations are under investigation.

Clerk-treasurer Chris Stidham said Portage officers did come to his office Thursday seeking information from those employees personnel files.

Williams said officers obtained information on the employees from the city's human resources department. That department is contained within the clerk-treasurer's office.

Ed Maher, spokesperson for International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 150, which represents the employees also confirmed the suspensions and investigation.

"It is our understanding that several employees of Portage's Department of Streets and Sanitation were placed on administrative leave today pending the completion of a city investigation," Maher said in an emailed statement. "We will represent our members throughout the investigation, as we always do."

"In an investigation requiring the involvement of multiple bargaining units represented by Local 150, we expect our members to carry out their professional duties to the best of their abilities on behalf of the city and taxpayers they serve, as they always have," Maher said. The city's police officers are also represented by Local 150.

City Councilman Mark Oprisko, liaison to the street department, said he sat in on a meeting Thursday morning concerning the suspensions, but couldn't comment on the details of the meeting.

Mayor James Snyder referred any questions to human relations consultant Mitch Ripley and city attorney Greg Sobkowski. Neither Ripley nor Sobkowski returned messages.

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