To supervisors, Charlotte county’s team of mosquito sprayers seemed ideal. The sprayers always arrived on time and never left early, according to their time sheets.
The team of mosquito sprayers, full time county employees, were supposed to be spending their evenings driving up and down city streets, spraying chemicals that repel mosquitoes and prevent the insects from breeding.
In June 2011 police pulled over county employee Stephen Archer over 45 miles away in Sarasota County for speeding. Police found two open beer bottles in the bed of his truck. He was arrested for drunk driving and his county-owned truck was impounded. Archer resigned before he could be fired, reported Fox 4 News.
After the scandal, county supervisors launched an internal investigation and began installing GPS tracking devices inside the sprayers’ vehicles. What they found them doing during work hours was unbelievable.
According to the county’s own investigation, mosquito sprayer Thomas North and Donald Venn II, racked up more than 20 hours of wasted time running “personal stops and errands” over the course of 10 days, including multiple trips to their own homes.
North and Venn made between $15-$25 an hour. The county’s report finds that they both “engaged in excess personal activities during work hours” and than lied about it. The two falsified time sheets, resulting in them “being paid for time not worked,” according to the county’s report.
GPS tracking logs do not break down who went where. But they do show a total of 32 unauthorized trips – including four to the Punta Gorda airport. The logs also show 12 trips to North Port and to private homes.
In one four hour trip taken on June 15, the county can’t account for where the driver went and called the trip to nowhere hours of what “appears to be mindless driving.”
Venn and North were officially fired on Aug. 16, 2011. The mosquito division had eight part time employees at the beginning of June. After three employees were fired, they now have five.
GPS tracking shows companies what their field employees are doing and holds them accountable. By doing so, it removes a number of administrative headaches and allows owners, managers, and dispatchers to use their time more effectively.