Internal email obtained by KCTV5 responds to asphalt dumping inv - KCTV5

Internal email obtained by KCTV5 responds to asphalt dumping investigation

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KCTV5 News exposed Wyandotte County Street Division employees over purchasing asphalt meant to fill potholes and dumping it on private property wasting thousands of taxpayer dollars and creating distrust in government. (KCTV5) KCTV5 News exposed Wyandotte County Street Division employees over purchasing asphalt meant to fill potholes and dumping it on private property wasting thousands of taxpayer dollars and creating distrust in government. (KCTV5)
WYANDOTTE COUNTY, KS (KCTV) -

KCTV5 News exposed Wyandotte County Street Division employees over purchasing asphalt meant to fill potholes and dumping it on private property, wasting thousands of taxpayer dollars and creating distrust in government.

Reporter Josh Marshall reached out and left messages for all ten county commissioners, the mayor and county administrator. The county's spokesman told KCTV5 they are still looking into our findings so they don't have an official response to his investigation.

Five hours before Marshall's story aired Wednesday, an internal email was sent only to Wyandotte County employees from County Administrator Doug Bach.

The email's subject line was "KCTV5 News Investigation Response."

The administrator explains street division standards and practices for disposing asphalt. In his email, Bach writes, “It’s common practice to dispose of the remaining material to support guard rails, repair alleys or the edges of our roads.”

KCTV5’s Josh Marshall found a dump site two miles north of Leavenworth Road and Pomeroy Drive. It’s a dead end, there aren’t guard rails and the asphalt isn’t on the edge of the road.

A street division whistleblower who spoke with KCTV5 said crews have been doing the exact opposite of what is considered common practice.

"We only use about a quarter of a ton and we end up dumping a ton and three quarters before lunch,” the whistleblower said.

KCTV5 uncovered county employees buying as much as eight times the amount of asphalt they need on any given day and dumping it anywhere.

The internal email went on to say, “We are not aware of any inappropriate disposal of asphalt by employees in our department.”

Last week, KCTV5 showed Public Works Director Mike Tobin what was found. He said he was unaware of any problems

"I’ll pull all those supervisors and division managers and go over what they're doing with this. Go over this. I'll go look at these addresses myself," he said.

This is the e-mail sent to Wyandotte County employees in its entirety:

KCTV 5 News Investigation Response

KCTV 5 will be airing a story about Unified Government Public Works crews dumping asphalt that should be used on roads during their 10:00 pm newscast on Wednesday, February 10, 2016.

Based on the interview from an unnamed UG employee, the investigative story insinuates that public works crews are wasting large quantities of asphalt because they are procuring an excessive amount of mixture to complete small projects and alleges that excessive quantity of unused asphalt is being discarded in inappropriate locations.

We want to provide you with a little more detail regarding the standard practice of preparing and disposing asphalt.

Public Works uses both hot mix asphalt and cold mix to fill potholes throughout Wyandotte County. Once hot mix begins to solidify, the material is no longer useful and must be disposed of in the proper manner required by KDHE. Therefore, it is a common practice to dispose of the remaining material to support guard rails, repair alleys or the edges of roads.

The Public Works Department purchases an average of 500 tons of asphalt per-year repairing more than 1,700 center line miles of roads and bridges throughout Wyandotte County.  Public Works crews and managers are trained on the proper techniques to prepare, apply, and dispose of both hot-mix and cold-patch asphalt.

The Unified Government has a quality workforce made up of its own citizens and I know all our employees want the best for our community. We are not aware of any inappropriate disposal of asphalt by employees in our department, however we will continue to monitor actions by our staff and work to ensure that crews follow best practices and adhere to all safety standards.  

Doug Bach

County Administrator

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