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Physical Plant employees caught reporting fraudulent hours

Money lost due to fraudulent hours estimated to be about $77,000

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(Nicole DeFeudis/Amherst Wire)

(Nicole DeFeudis/Amherst Wire)

(Nicole DeFeudis/Amherst Wire)

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AMHERST — Six University of Massachusetts Amherst Physical Plant employees have been fired and three have received temporary suspension of employment after purposely misreporting extra employment hours and misusing campus resources, according to a statement released by the university.

The wrongdoings were revealed after a 2015 investigation into the Environmental Services Unit of the Physical Plant division. The investigation was originally conducted in response to allegations of workplace misconduct.

The amount of money lost due to fraudulent hours is estimated to be about $77,000, according to the statement.

Because of the Physical Plant’s human resources policy, UMass spokesman Ed Blaguszewski declined to reveal the names of the employees.

In response to these allegations, the Physical Plant will enforce stricter regulations, such as advance approval of overtime hours and an updated system of tracking shifts, according to the statement, released on March 29.

“Improved accountability and management of materials,” is another added precaution cited by the statement.

When asked if the statement refers to employee theft, Blaguszewski said the Physical Plant is working to “track the inventory in an improved fashion.”

According to the statement, the Physical Plant’s annual budget is around 42 million dollars.

“UMass is the steward of public dollars and we take that responsibility very seriously,” said Andrew Mangels, vice chancellor of administration and finance, in the statement.

A review will also be conducted by the state attorney general’s office, according to the statement. It is unclear whether the employees involved in this incident will face legal charges, Blaguszewski said.

Email Tiffany at [email protected]

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The digital-first, student-run magazine of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Journalism Department
Physical Plant employees caught reporting fraudulent hours