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Vickie Thomas: Ghost Employees On Detroit’s Payroll?

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Detroit Mayor Dave Bing waits in line to collect his pay check during an audit of the city's payroll. (WWJ Photo/Vickie Thomas)

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing waits in line to collect his pay check during an audit of the city’s payroll. (WWJ Photo/Vickie Thomas)

vickiethomas2 Vickie Thomas
Vickie Thomas is the City Beat Reporter for WWJ Newsradio 950. She was...
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Detroit Mayor Dave Bing was among the first in line at 7:30 Friday morning to produce identification to prove he is who he says he is.  It’s all part of the city’s effort to make sure there are no ghost employees on the payroll.  All workers have to show a driver license or passport to pick up their check or pay stub.

The payroll verification audit will last over the next two weeks.  And while city leaders say they do not expect to find people cheating the system by collecting a check when they are not entitled to one,  the process is aimed at weeding out any fraud or waste in city government.

“We want to make sure we are paying people who come to work for the city of Detroit,” said Bing.  He went on to say, “There are a lot of scams that have gone over for a long period of time where I think we’ve not done a good enough job and from an administration standpoint, ensuring that money is being paid out to the appropriate people who come to work every day for the city of Detroit.”

The morning did not go off without a hitch however.  Some city workers were left waiting at a closed security checkpoint.  Many were upset because notices that went out informing them to arrive as early as 6 a.m.  That screening area doesn’t open until 7:30 a.m.  The mayor’s spokeswoman Naomi Patton blamed the wait time on mis-communication.

In 2009, the Detroit Public Schools District conducted a similar payroll audit and uncovered about 250 ghost workers collecting pay checks.

Patton said the payroll audit is the first since Bing took office.

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