Follow us:

The Today File

Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

December 7, 2011 at 7:10 PM

Sixth city employee disciplined for utility-bill fixing

The Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission added a sixth city utility employee to its disciplinary action Wednesday in an ongoing investigation of bill fixing.

Last week, the Commission announced that it had reached settlement agreements with four current and one former employee who admitted that they had made adjustments to their own or a family member’s utility bill, in violation of city ethics rules.

Seattle Public Utilities announced the same day that it was firing three employees and disciplining another for falsifying payment records, waiving late fees or arranging for extended payment plans. Most of the employees were customer service representatives with access to utility and electric accounts.

On Wednesday, the Ethics Commission accepted the recommendations of director Wayne Barnett to impose fines ranging from $300 to $2,000 on the five for violating city rules that prohibit employees from using their position for personal gain.

In addition to the five cases previously announced, the Commission added that of Sharon Howard, a former account representative who left the city earlier this year. Howard admitted to setting up payment plans for herself and her parents for which they were not eligible and not making timely payments.

She also deducted $120 in late charges from her parents’ City Light account in 2008. She was fined $2000 by the Ethics Commission.

SPU fired two other employees earlier this year who were found to be accessing their own accounts and lowering their bills.

Comments | More in General news, Government | Topics: bill fixing, Seattle Public Utilities

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►