Season of Bad Behavior

Maybe the cases are more the exception rather than the rule, but two additional cases of bad public sector employee behavior in Allegheny County presented themselves this week. Just yesterday a PA driver, allegedly under the influence of drugs and alcohol, nearly hit a City police officer with the vehicle and was allegedly belligerent with police. Earlier this week City Public Works employees who failed to disclose felonies on their employment records were reinstated by an arbitrator’s decision.

Anger management classes, theft from bus fare boxes, domestic assault, six alcohol-related offenses, and other examples have shown up in the City’s Police and Fire Departments and the Port Authority in recent months.

Is it a few bad apples? If so, do they, like the old saying goes, spoil the whole bunch? Take the words of two individuals from this past summer, just when the issues with the felony disclosures were coming to light.

The former Operations Director noted that "I wouldn’t say that there’s a problem in the sense that there’s some kind of pervasive attitude or there’s something endemic to the [Public Works] department. Keep in mind there are over 600 employees"

And from the attorney representing one of the employees caught up in the charges: "If [the City] suspended every city employee who was arrested, it would have a crippling effect on the workforce."