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Civil Service Commission upholds Quincy DPW employee suspension

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  January 6, 2012 10:43 AM

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A Quincy DPW employee’s one-day suspension was upheld after the Civil Service Commission ruled that he was at fault during a street-sweeping incident last May.

Stephen Kozlowski was suspended one day without pay on May 20 after allegedly leaving a city street sweeper unattended on May 17.

According to the report, Kozlowski was conducting his regular street-sweeping duties in the Germantown area when he radioed for a dump truck to come take the debris that has been swept up.

Kozlowski said he grabbed a ride back with the dump truck operator to use the restroom, about a mile to a mile-and-a-half away.

While on his way with the dump truck, he passed Joe Newton, a DPW operations manager, and Ed Leary, a general foreman in the Highway Division, who were driving the opposite direction down Palmer Street. They were checking on the street-cleaning work being done and noticed the street sweeper left unattended, with the key in the ignition.

The bristles of the street sweeper were not on, but the lights at the front and back of the sweeper had been left flashing. There was no note explaining the situation, the report states, and the engine was running.

The result was “a potentially dangerous situation. It was of particular concern when he did this during daylight hours in light of a school approximately 450 feet away,” the report states.

The keys were turned in to Kozlowski’s working foreman that day, and Kozlowski was later written up and suspended.

Kozlowski was running for Ward 2 city councilor at the time, a spot vacated by his new boss, DPW Commissioner Daniel Raymondi. The suspension occurred the day Kozlowski pulled nomination papers for the seat.

Although the city was reprimanded by the Civil Service Commission for not allowing the correct due process involved in a suspension, the suspension was eventually upheld.

Despite Kozlowski’s claims that he did not leave the sweeper running, “I am strongly persuaded to the contrary by the credible and well explained accounts of Mr. Newton and Mr. Leary, who found the street sweeper not very long after Mr. Kozlowski left it,” the report states.

This isn’t the first time Kozlowski has had a grievance with city officials.

In November, Kozlowski filed a grievance against Commissioner Raymondi for allegedly making insenstive remarks relating to the city elections. That complaint is currently being processed with Union Local 1139.

Kozlowski has 30 days to file a written objection to the Civil Service Commission’s decision.

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