The New York City government reportedly is looking into complaints that workers entrusted with cleaning up the snowstorm this past week deliberately stalled in protest of city budget cuts.
A spokeswoman with the city's Department of Investigation said the agency is looking into "whether there was intentional misconduct relating to the snow removal" and whether there was a "slowdown," Bloomberg reports.
City Councilman Dan Halloran went public with the complaints earlier in the week, telling news outlets that workers in the Sanitation Department told him that supervisors had urged them to slow down the snow removal.
"They're saying that the shops that they worked in ... basically had the go ahead to take their time, that they wouldn't be supervised, that if they missed routes it wasn't going to be a problem," Halloran told Fox News.
In the last two years, the agency's workforce has been slashed by 400 trash haulers and supervisors -- down from 6,300 -- because of the city's budget crisis. And, effective Friday, 100 department supervisors are to be demoted and their salaries slashed as an added cost-saving move. Sources said budget cuts were also at the heart of poor planning for the blizzard last weekend.
The heads of the two unions that represent sanitation department supervisors and rank-and-file workers said the rumors about a slowdown were false and insulting.
Joseph Mannion, president of the Sanitation Officers Association, which represents about 1,000 supervisors and has been fighting the pending demotions, called that claim "ludicrous."
"There would never be a coordination to do anything in the snow. It's absolutely a taboo issue," he said. "You never, ever play with people's lives. And that's what they are saying we did."
The New York Post contributed to this report.