Transit union official steals $2K from public but retains his job

Very few employers will tolerate a thief on their staff, for obvious reasons.  Even fewer will tolerate a prominent thief whose misdeeds become known, because thievery spreads like cancer if it is tolerated.

But for reasons unexplained in this story from the New York Daily News, George Botts, vice president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 726, remains on the payroll of the Metropolitan Transit Authority (a government agency) after having been proven to have stolen over $2,000 from taxpayers.

As a union official, Botts gets union pay of $32 an hour for performing union work, not driving a bus.  This is already a rip-off for taxpayers, forcing them to pay for both sides of the bargaining table.  But it has been an established practice, albeit one that should end.

But Botts filled out fake time cards, claiming to have worked more hours than he actually had put in.  And he got busted because he went through toll booths while he was supposed to be working, and those records (with photos) exist, are time-stamped, and came to the notice of an inspector general.

The MTA Inspector General's office says E-ZPass records showed George Botts, vice president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 726, was paying tolls at the same time he was supposed to be performing union duties at a Staten Island bus depot.

Botts, driving in from Pennsylvania, arrived late and kicked off early – earning his $32-an-hour bus driver pay for 66 hours and 36 minutes he never worked from March 1 to May 20, 2016, according to an inspector general's report. The Daily News obtained a copy of the report.

Keep in mind that this is the time he got caught.  We have no way of knowing if this just happens to be the first time he tried the racket or if he has been doing this for years.

The union, those brave champions of the working person, apparently went to bat for Botts.  But having a thief retain his job sets a horrible example.  This will be costly in the end.  With their ability to paralyze traffic by going on strike, transit unions accumulate power at the expense of the communities they serve.

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