An engineer for Palm Beach County’s Water Utilities Department was suspended without pay for two weeks after he reported that a contractor hadn’t met code. Michael Gleman is suing the county over the suspension, a loss of more than $4,000, after he reported that the contractor hadn’t met code in installing electric devices at the county’s water treatment plant. He filed the lawsuit on Dec. 14, citing the state’s “Public Sector Whistleblower Act.”
According to a report from My Palm Beach Post, Gleman’s suspension notice says he made “false and misleading statements.” Gleman claims that at meeting of the county’s contract review committee, he disclosed that four supervisors had asked him to attend to recommend Cardinal Contractors be paid for $45,000 in supplemental work on a degasifier. That’s a device that removes dissolved carbon dioxide.
Gleman, the county’s project manager for the original work, says he told the committee he was urged to do so despite the fact that previous work the firm had done at the county’s Water Treatment Plant 3 didn’t meet national or county code and created a hazardous work condition. Gleman said he was suspended a month after the meeting, My Palm Beach Post reported.
A memo with Gleman’s suspension notice says the original $1.64 million degasifier project “simply expanded” installation of some electric conduits on top of a concrete slab in connection to the membrane filtration at the plant, in operation since 2004. It said the added work raised the conduits so they wouldn’t be a tripping hazard.
“No electrical code or OSHA violation has ever been issued at Water Treatment Plant #3,” the memo said.