UMass Amherst Addresses Allegations of Employee Misconduct in Physical Plant

The University of Massachusetts Amherst, as part of an internal investigation of the Environmental Services Unit of its Physical Plant division, has taken decisive action to address allegations of workplace misconduct involving the misreporting of time and misuse of campus resources.

The findings of the internal investigation, which began in 2015, prompted the university to take action that resulted in the separation of employment for six individuals and temporary suspension of three employees. The estimated value of the fraudulent time reporting is $77,000. Physical Plant has an annual budget of $42 million and nearly 600 employees.

The matter has been referred to the state Attorney General’s Office for review.

“Significant allegations were brought to our attention, and we moved quickly to investigate and take action,” said Andrew Mangels, vice chancellor of administration and finance. “UMass is the steward of public dollars and we take that responsibility very seriously.”

As a result of the review, Physical Plant has adopted a number of measures to ensure improved accountability:

  • Pre-approval of overtime in advance by an assistant director of Physical Plant, a higher level of management approval
  • Increased tracking and accountability of time and attendance through time card system upgrades and improved management review and approval of time submissions
  • Improved accountability and management of materials at on-campus supply locations through just-in-time delivery
  • More stringent oversight to prevent the use of employee labor for non-university projects