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City worker guarding cemetery pump filled own tank

A Boston cemetery worker who was supposed to prevent co-workers from stealing gas from a city pump brazenly kept his own Dodge van running for months on taxpayer-funded fuel before he got caught red-handed, the Herald has learned.
As many drivers struggled with $4 a gallon gas, Paul J. Hamm helped himself once a week at a Mount Hope Cemetery pump reserved for city vehicles, according to the Boston Finance Commission, the city watchdog that allegedly caught him.
Hamm, who was assigned in April to keep his co-workers honest, resigned from his $57,000-a-year job Oct. 28 after being confronted with evidence of his alleged misdeeds. Hamm could not be reached for comment.
"He was stealing from the public," said Finance Commission Executive Director Jeff Conley, who said he videotaped Hamm in the act.
Hamm, a 22-year city employee who made nearly $80,000 last year with overtime, was able to allegedly siphon off fuel meant for cemetery equipment and vehicles because the city's oversight was insufficient, Conley said.
Conley pointed out the cemetery pump isn't equipped to take the gas cards required of most city workers, nor was anyone reviewing the gas log Hamm allegedly manipulated.
Hamm's log ultimately was used to show he'd been ripping off Boston for months, Conley said. The stolen gas was charged to a diesel truck and the cemetery pump only dispenses regular gasoline.
"He outfoxed himself in that regard," Conley said.
The Herald reported last week that a state police probe has targeted abuse of taxpayer-funded gas cards, with 10 troopers under scrutiny. Conley said he believes this is the only case of stealing city gas at the cemetery department.
"It was absolutely a betrayal of trust," said Antonia Pollak, Parks & Recreation commissioner.
Pollak defended the parks department's effort to prevent theft. It had limited access to the pump to one day a week, but Hamm, as the person in charge, got around that by manipulating the log.
"You do want to trust your employees to some degree," Pollak said. "Nine out of 10 times it works. One time it didn't."
After the case was discovered, the city changed the locks on the gas tank and now has more than one person review the cemetery's gas log.

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http://bostonherald.com/news/region...orker_guarding_cemetery_pump_filled_own_tank/
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Camera Catches City Workers Drinking, Stealing

Paul Hamm allegedly filled his gas tank nearly every week at a pump meant for city vehicles.

Cemetery Superintendent Donald Griffis, right, and foreman Paul Hamm are seen enjoying a long lunch at a Jamaica Plain pub.
WBZ

BOSTON (WBZ) ― The grounds of Mount Hope Cemetery are by all appearances well kept. But in back, at the gas pump where city cemetery vehicles are fueled, a tipster told investigators they'd find a problem.

The tipster said foreman Paul Hamm was filling his own tank with the city's gas.

So the Boston Finance Commission, a city watchdog agency, staked it out.

"Sure enough, he was stealing fuel from the city facility every Thursday night for at least a period of five or six months," said Jeff Conley of the BFC. "Sometimes he took 15 gallons, sometimes he took 28, whatever it took to fill up his van. He had the key to the lock, was in control of the gas log and operations down there."

Conley said they know how much Hamm took because he kept track of it in the log books, claiming he was fueling city vehicles. But Conley said flags were raised because at least one of those vehicles couldn't have used the gas he claimed he was pumping into it. It ran on diesel fuel.

"There's a couple of things that allowed him to do this," he said. "No. 1, there were no internal controls. He was the sole person and his boss didn't supervise him."

In fact, said Conley, as he and a colleague began to watch Hamm, they learned that he and his boss, cemetery superintendent Donald Griffis, frequently took long lunches at a Jamaica Plain pub.

The investigators videotaped the pair having lunch and observed them on several other occasions.

"They spent two, two-plus hours there having lunch and drinks," Conley said. "It was a real lousy situation for the other employees, who, per our observations, were all working. And their bosses don't work."

Conley said Griffis earned more than $100,000 last year, and Hamm about $80,000. No longer. Conley said Hamm resigned and Griffis was fired.

"We didn't want that cancer to be contagious," Mayor Thomas Menino explained. City officials took quick action upon viewing the tape.

"To be drinking in the afternoon on city taxpayers' time is wrong, and so I didn't see any way to keep them on the job," Menino said.

Our efforts to reach Hamm and Griffis were unsuccessful.

http://wbztv.com/local/Mount.Hope.Cemetery.2.868093.html
 

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Czar of Cyncism and Satire
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So the Boston Finance Commission, a city watchdog agency, staked it out.
Since when did the Boston Finance Commission become a gumshoe agency involved in investigations involving public corruption?
 
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