EXCLUSIVE: DPW Employee Shares Job Safety Concerns Following the Murder of a City Employee
"We are going to continue to meet to see what changes are necessary, that remains the number one priority." Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett vows to review safety procedures for city employees after Greg "Ziggy" Zyskiewicz was murdered on the job.
In an interview you'll see only on CBS 58 - We hear from a Public Works employee who says he hasn't felt safe on the job for quite some time. After last week's murder, the safety of all city employees was immediately questioned specifically should DNS workers keep driving their own cars? Ziggy was in his personal mustang which the criminal complaint states the suspects admitted to targeting. But one man, in a completely different department, says his concerns have gone ignored for years. He's worried that even after this, real change may not happen.
"I was involved in the Camille Bailey murder years ago in the municipal building. A guy followed me down the hall with a shotgun minutes before he murdered her," Jeff Lueking, a Milwaukee DPW Employee said.
That was back in 1992 when Jeff Lueking first started as a public works engineer. Now 33 years later, Lueking says he's had enough scary moments.
"I had a guy assault me on 32nd and Nash a couple of years ago."
"For the last several years, I have been raising issues of the safety concerns with managers who have basically been disinterested."
CBS 58 covered at least two incidents within a month of each other last year. A DPW worker had his throat slashed and another had been shot at. Luecking says the city needs to make changes for all employees.
"I suggested to one of the managers that he have a dedicated phone line for all city employees that they could call and get an immediate response."
Luecking says he also mentioned that DPW should make changes to its safety manual.
This was the response from the personnel and compliance manager -
"When I bring it up with Mr. Dan Thomas, the one I told you about, and he tells me its an urban environment get used to it. That is absolutely out of line."
The manual on DPW's website has rules for how employees should behave on the job. But few guidelines for how they can stay safe or how to deal with dangerous situations.
"They have no regard for anyone but I am out in the streets working and that's where my contact comes. I am down in those areas where the heightened sense of danger is because my employer sends me there. Again, another reason they are responsible for my safety."
The Department of Public Works sent a statement to CBS 58 News:
The safety and well-being of Department of Public Works employees are our top priorities. DPW at no time has ignored or dismissed an employee’s safety concern(s) when shared with our supervisors and managers.
In the wake of last week’s tragedy, we are following Mayor Barrett’s directive to review all DPW field safety policies and procedures. As we complete this review, we will share any and all updates concerning our safety policies and procedures with our staff immediately.