Syracuse City Auditor Marty Masterpole says "our Fraud Hotline has been ringing off the hook" following allegations that three Water Department workers are violating the city's residency requirement and could be fired.
Masterpole says people are reacting to a CNY Central story on Friday about Floyd McDonald. A fter he was fired a year and a half ago , McD onald gathered evidence against three of his accusers at the Water Department. He uncovered tax records which show they are living in homes outside the city limits. McDonald blew them in.
T he City Auditor's Office determined the three had lied on residency verification forms. Masterpole turned over the evidence to the Miner Administration which has launched an investigation. "People are signing the residency verification certificates, including everyone in my office. If they're signing them fraudulently, they should be dismissed." Masterpole said.
CNY Central is not identifying the three workers because the city administration has not yet accused them of wrongdoing.
On Monday, Masterpole told CNY Central's Jim Kenyon that the calls on the Fraud Hotline fall into two categories. He says people are reporting the names and addresses of city workers who live outside the city limits in violation of the residency requirement. Masterpole says several employees of the City of Syracuse who obey the residency requirement are calling in to demand that the Water Department workers be fired, or they too would move outside the city.
Masterpole says he will investigate each of the complaints. "I'm not suggesting we're going to balance the budget by laying off people who are not city residents, but we might have layoffs anyway. So let's layoff people that are not living by the rules I suppose."
When Syracuse lawmakers enacted the residency requirement years ago they felt that if you're paid by the city, you should live in the city. It keeps taxpayer money circulating locally and makes the workers more committed to their jobs.
C ity Councilor Jake Barrett points out that the only people exempt from the law are police, firefighters, teachers and sanitation workers. "I'm sure there will be an investigation. I hope it will be fast moving and I hope these people who have these allegations against them will correct them." Barrett says.
T he three Water Department workers have not yet responded to our request for comment.
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