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September 20, 2021 2 min read 10 Comments

An engineer working remotely for the Baltimore Department of Public Works was caught working a second full-time job for a private employer.

According to a Baltimore OIG report, the unnamed engineer was authorized to work remotely in March 2020 during the COVID pandemic, from 8:30 to 4:30.

In May 2020 the engineer received a job offer from a private company. The engineer had listed on his resume that he worked for the DPW from 2009-2020, and the company assumed that this meant that he no longer worked there.

After accepting the job offer, the engineer began working the second job from 8:00 to 4:00, without disclosing to either this company or the Baltimore DPW that he was doing so.

The issue was discovered when the engineer applied for an internal transfer within the company, which triggered an employee review. That review uncovered the fact that he was still employed with the Baltimore DPW and had been working the two jobs at the same time.

The engineer was fired from the company, but remarkably has still retained his job at the DPW. This is because the DPW made several errors and oversights with their policies and procedures.

First, the engineer had not signed the City's Telework agreement, which details the terms and conditions for employees to work remotely. Furthermore, their Telework Agreement does not specifically address secondary employment while working remotely. Both of these points were sighted as oversights by the OIG.

The OIG also found that the City's Concurrent Employment Prohibition Policy is unclear on the subject of teleworking, and does not address whether an employee can overlap working hours when under secondary employment. Therefore it was not clear whether the engineer violated this policy.

Lastly, the engineer stopped filing Financial Disclosure Statements in 2019, because he felt that he was not required to do so. The OIG agreed with his opinion, and stated that only engineers in certain positions such as General Superintendents and Inspectors are required to do so. If the engineer had filed a Financial Disclosure Statement in 2020, then that would have either disclosed his dual employment or (if he withheld the information) would have been grounds for dismissal.

So what do you think about this case? Is it ok for an engineer to "bend" the rules and get away with it? Or should cases such as this be judged against a Code of Ethics in addition to specific rules and regulations? Leave a comment here and let us know!

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10 Responses

Don  Ondrejka
Don Ondrejka

September 21, 2021

There is no question that this is a violation of the Code of Ethics. Agreed with others that the Engineer, if a PE, should face disciplinary action.

Donald Weaver
Donald Weaver

September 21, 2021

This engineer got by on a technicality. His behavior was completely unethical and both employers should have fired him immediately upon discovery. If he is a registered PE, the state boar(s) should strip him of his license to practice permanently.

GEORGE W AKENS
GEORGE W AKENS

September 21, 2021

At least there is one private employer out there who is responsible. I am not surprised that the state agency is waffling. Same old hiding behind technicalities, and diluting blame until it all washes. Shameful, as usual. Fire this person immediately, and stop the “work at home” sham!

Mr. Rick Makrickas
Mr. Rick Makrickas

September 20, 2021

Total, unethical behavior.

If a registered Professional Engineer, he should be stripped of his license.

Also, he should be fired by BOTH employers.

This isn’t the first time he failed to disclose, or lied, on the job.

No room for an individual like this in our profession. A true loser.

James Meyer
James Meyer

September 20, 2021

I feel he did not break any rules, ethical or legal, as long as he actually worked the hours he said he did, for each employer.

B. Boesel
B. Boesel

September 20, 2021

Although not specifically stated I assume the individual was receiving compensation from both employers. In my opinion the individual’s failure to inform both employers about his activities makes him guilty of fraud and he/she should be brought before a court of law. Further, if I were in a position of authority in the DPW I would see to it that the individual’s employment is terminated, an entry made into the individual’s permanent record, and if the individual is a Registered Professional Engineer (PE) his/her actions reported to the local PE board.

Harold Glorius
Harold Glorius

September 20, 2021

A rule of thumb is, if you even ask, it is not ok.
I see this as deception. The Engineer should have disclosed to both employers what he/she was doing, or going to do. Then, at least, each of the employers would have had the opportunity to interject their respective policies (or the policies they thought were in place maybe).
It is also very questionable whether any Engineer can effectively work two full time jobs. There almost has to be overlap or time restraints that would cause one job to impact the other. Without disclosing to each employer or potential employer his/her plans to work both jobs, he/she put both employers at risk.

Randall Harris, P.E.
Randall Harris, P.E.

September 20, 2021

The individual is guilty of selling the same time to two different employers, without disclosing such to each employer. If the individual believes this behavior is acceptable, maybe politics would be more aligned with their beliefs.

Rodney LeMasters
Rodney LeMasters

September 20, 2021

Yes, even though he was not in violation of the normal and approved terms of the agency he is in violation of the engineering code of ethics. He didn’t disclose the second job to his primary employer and the working hours were in direct conflict with his primary job.

Matt Miltenberger
Matt Miltenberger

September 20, 2021

This is CLEAR violation of the Code of Ethics. The Engineer, if a PE, should face disciplinary action. Just because you can get away with it does not make it right.

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