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Pasadena Water Dept. Workers Draw Paid Leave in Drug Query

March 23, 1989|ASHLEY DUNN | Times Staff Writer

PASADENA — An investigation at the municipal maintenance yard has led to allegations of drug use, drug dealing or theft of city property by 25 to 30 employees, according to city officials.

Deputy City Manager Edward Aghjayan said the employees were put on paid leave last week.

An additional 10 to 15 employees, who so far have not been linked to the problems, were also put on leave pending the conclusion of the investigation, he said.

Information from the investigation has been forwarded to the Police Department, which is reviewing the material for possible criminal prosecution. Police were alerted but did not take part in the investigation, Aghjayan said.

Aghjayan said the investigation began about four months ago when supervisors in the Water and Power Department alerted the city manager about drug problems at the maintenance yard on Mountain Street.

The city hired a private investigation firm, Confidential Management Services Inc. of San Dimas, to determine the extent of the problem.

James F. Broder, senior vice president of the company, said investigators found some employees using alcohol, cocaine, marijuana or methamphetamine on the job. The substances were used and sold in only small quantities, he said.

Broder said that, compared to other companies, the possible involvement of 40 employees in drug use, out of the 300 in the Water and Power Department, was "par for the course." He said his investigations at other companies have found that about 30% of employees use drugs.

Confined to Employees

A much smaller number of Water and Power employees were involved in drug dealing, he said, although he did not know the exact number. The drug sales appeared to be confined to employees, he said.

Broder did not release the number of employees involved in the alleged theft of city property, which included items such as tools and hardware.

Aghjayan said the Water and Power Department has been disrupted by the number of employees put on leave and the tension stemming from the investigation. But he said the department has been able to keep up with its normal work schedule.

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