As an underground lines locator no two locates are alike. Here is an example. Some locate requests ask for a radius of a corner to be located for all utility lines. Another may request a number of feet within a described area. Most of the time I have at access to files indicating where all of the lines are underground for the type of utility I locate.
Within the last the last month I had located lines that were marked wrong. In the first hit as we call them, where a line is by the excavator, I had no access to the base of a signal pole because the cover’s bolt would not break loose. Later my supervisor says to break off the cover to gain access and report it.
The second hit was our expressway lighting system. That was a line where I could have activated the controller to light up the everything on the circuit. Covering the photocell doesn’t always work because the controller has a blown internal fuse which I am not qualified to replace.
The third hit was at an offset intersection of three streets and two traffic signals with one traffic signal controller. This was as we locators call a blind locate because no files are available to find all underground lines. I was asked by my department to locate all the lines and indicate on a sheet where the lines were.
On the third hit I assumed that everything I marked was actually there underground. A week later after a recent rain event most of the marks were washed away. Even though I had turned in a sheet on all the lines marked, one line was hit.
In my job description it states that 99% of all my locates have to be correct. Now, I do in one year hundreds of locates requests. Three out of those hundreds is hardly over 1%.
I was told by my supervisor that from now on when a line is hit because of it was located wrong, I was to help repair the line. On the first hit the line was removed eventually by the excavator along with the signal pole base too so the original work could be completed.
On the second hit I worked with the repair crew on the expressway lighting.
When the third hit had occurred I was informed that I would be taken off of locating and placed elsewhere within the department. I have been the sole locator in my department for nine years. Then the bombshell is dropped. I am told that a disciplinary hearing will be held on this matter.
I had requested two weeks vacation after the second hit.When the hearing was made known to me I was informed that no vacation would be approved. Being fully vested in my pension I made an appointment for the following week to find out all I could on my options. I informed my supervisor of my appointment by email. My plan was not to retire until next year.
The next day after sending the email, I am told that the two week vacation is approved . Having been to my appointment I am comfortable with my plans but, if I can not return to my locating position I will retire this year.
Since I have been an employee in our department for thirty-four years and my department wanting to discipline an employee with 34 years of service and a year before retirement makes no sense to me. Where is the reasoning for their actions ?