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25 Year NYC Sanitation Department Veteran Fired For Accepting $20 Tip

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Gothamist – A 56-year-old worker for the Department of Sanitation was forced to resign after he was caught accepting a $20 tip for carting off a big pile of wood, furniture, and other “bulk refuse” from a Queens resident. Lenworth Dixon, who had worked for the department since 1988, admitted in the public disposition that he pocketed the 20 bucks even though removal of the trash was “part of my official DSNY duties.” The City’s Charter clearly states that “no public servant shall receive compensation from the city for performing any official duty or accept or receive any gratuity from any person whose interests may be affected by the the public servant’s official action.” Now we feel bad for plying Birdie with all that free birdseed. According to a statement from the NYC Conflicts of Interest Board, Dixon agreed to retire from the department and pay a $1,500 fine. It’s unclear how Dixon got caught, but the Daily News reports that the Sanitation Department has been known to install cameras on garbage trucks in an attempt to catch workers breaking rules. “It is a harsh punishment, but they don’t tolerate taking money from the public,” said Harry Nespoli, president of the Sanitation Workers Union, tells the News. “We’re not allowed to take any money, even at Christmas time. We don’t work for the post office.”  Dixon’s career-ending mistake comes six months after a pair of Sanitation workers were fined $2,000 each for accepting $5 tips for hauling off a big pile of trash in Queens.

Look I understand that the sanitation department is probably a big time target for corruption. I would have to imagine this is a rule to prevent major forms or bribery and fraud and crime where they just refuse to make any exceptions. But canning a dude who’s been there for 25 years because he took a 20 spot for lugging all sorts of heavy bulky garbage is kinda fucked up. I’m sure you can pay thousands of dollars to bribe a garbage men to dispose of all sorts of illegal shit. I’m sure there are Tony Soprano’s out there who would pay off the sanitation department for all kinds of criminal activity. But Lenny Dixon, 26 year vet and father of 3, out on his ass and fined $1,500 just doesn’t seem right. Rules are rules but thats just a shitty, shitty way to enforce it.