Being a reporter is like putting together a puzzle. A story may start with a question, but the puzzle pieces often are public documents that tell pieces of a story that must be reconstructed.
Documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act served as the backbone of Tuesday's story about public payroll questions at the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District.
Through those records, I was able to determine that there was an "investigation into procurement matters" in the district's information technology department, and that two top employees were put on paid leave last year during the investigation.
Together, they collected more than $400,000 in pay. One of the employees, whom the district had moved to fire, agreed to resign in a deal that will pay him an added $250,000. From there, I requested additional records that added more detail, and the story became about piecing all the documents together.
While agency officials and board members wouldn’t answer questions about the investigation, they did say that it was not a criminal matter and that it involved a review of management practices. At this point, it’s unclear when the investigation will conclude or what will happen next, but we will continue to ask questions.
-- Duaa Eldeib
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