The Department of General Services tightened security at the Abel Wolman Municipal Building, home to multiple agencies, and other city buildings after an investigation by the Office of the Inspector General revealed a former Department of Public Works employee who had been fired was able to gain access to sensitive areas.
On May 6, the former DPW staffer, who was fired because of a violation of the city’s security policy, walked in dressed like a cop and didn’t have to sign in or scan a work ID. He wore a tactical vest and a badge, appearing to be in law enforcement, but in reality, he works as a process server–someone who serves court notifications, according to the report published today.
In fact, the former employee told the security guard, who’s staffed by an outside vendor, that they had been terminated, and the guard let them through without signing a log book or flagging any department managers. The guard later explained to investigators he had recognized the former employee.
Once inside, the ex-staffer spoke with a former colleague for over an hour and accessed areas not open to the public, including “locations containing sensitive material and equipment.” There was no indication anything was damaged or stolen.
“Several employees who interacted with the individual were aware of the circumstances surrounding the former employee’s termination and thought it was unusual for the individual to be walking around the offices; however, no employee alerted security to the individual’s presence,” the report said.
Some, however, saw the law enforcement get-up and didn’t question the former employee’s presence.
In response to the investigation, Acting DGS Director Chichi Nyagah-Nash said the agency has discussed a better security plan with DPW leaders and updated protocols with security companies that provide guards for city buildings.
The department has in recent years added 200 cameras, created new access points and a security command center, and rolled out new visitor pass software, Nyagah-Nash wrote.
The guard who let the ex-DPW employee into the Abel Wolman Municipal Building has been barred from working at city-owned locations.