How long is too long of a lunch break? - KPTV - FOX 12

How long is too long of a lunch break?

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An internal investigation is under way after the City of Portland says a number of its electrical inspectors were taking "long breaks" instead of examining construction projects.

And it's taxpayers that are footing the bill.

The Bureau of Development services confirmed it received a formal complaint about this particular group of employees Nov. 30 and immediately began an investigation.

City officials say the group of electrical inspectors would meet at Guild's Lake Inn several days a week while they were on the clock and while they were supposed to be examining buildings.

When FOX 12 asked the bureau how many employees were involved and what consequences they faced for their actions, the bureau declined to comment.

They say that information is all confidential.

The bureau says it is now planning to install GPS tracking devices into all 50 of its fleet vehicles, partly to monitor employee whereabouts.

"Our goal really is for safety, and having the GPS system helps with that, but it also helps for responding to complaints and to verify where an employee is or if a complaint is legit," said Ross Caron, Communication Director for the Bureau of Development Services.

While the bureau would not comment on the salaries of these particular employees, research performed by the Cascade Policy Institute shows that the average pay for the city's electrical inspectors is around $72,000.

That pay reportedly increases to around $80,000 for a senior inspector.

The CPI research was performed back in 2009.

Mayor Charlie Hales said he's pleased with the bureau for conducting a prompt investigation into these allegations; while he, too, cannot discuss the employee discipline matters, he supports the bureau's decision.

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