A Facebook user in New York has drummed up plenty of controversy after posting a video of a man in a city-issued work truck dropping off his daughter at school.
As Saratoga Springs Department of Public Works (DPW) supervisor Tom McGraw pulled up to his daughter’s school last Thursday morning, Scot Prehn followed closely behind and while driving he recorded McGraw stopping in front of the school where his daughter got out of a DPW Ford pickup.
Because using work vehicles on personal time is against city policy, McGraw has since been disciplined by DPW Commissioner Anthony Scirocco who told the timesunion.com that the incident “will go in his file. It won’t happen again. That’s it.”
In his Facebook post, Prehn writes, “So is it OK to use a city truck for dropping off kids at school? Before work or during work? Liability for those of us who pay taxes and cover the insurance?”
Though Scirocco said McGraw was wrong to use the truck for personal use, several Facebook users were none too pleased with Prehn and sided with McGraw. (Facebook comments are shown as they appear online.)
“What is it exactly that you were looking for when turning this worker in?” Nicole Marie Nme writes. “Humiliating his daughter or yourself? Great job! Does it happen everyday? Probably not. As a dad/ parent yourself you should know sometimes you have to do what you have to do. Now get life!”
Another user pointed out that Prehn was recording while driving.
“You should get a ticket for being on your phone while driving on school property you are more dangerous then this city employee right now distracted driving is illegal actually more illegal than what he’s doing,” Ricky GoGo writes.
Facebook user Ashley Dunevant cited a prior court case in which a federal employee was cleared of wrongdoing after using his vehicle for personal use.
“Do your legal research,” Dunevant tells Prehn. “Kimm v. Dept of Treasury. Guy dropped his kid off at daycare with official vehicle and the federal Court of Appeals decided in the guy’s favor because it wasn’t a willful misuse. Maybe know a little bit about what you’re talking about before you go publicly running your mouth like a jerk.
“Side note: can’t believe you would use your phone while driving, especially with your child in the car,” Dunevant continued. “Saratoga Springs Police Department Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office is this enough evidence to ticket this man for using a phone while driving?”
HWT contacted the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office today which referred us to the Saratoga Spring Police Department for clarification on how personal devices can be used in vehicles in New York. Our call was not returned by press time. New York has some of the strictest portable electronic device laws in the nation. According to safeny.ny.gov:
New York prohibits all drivers from using portable electronic devices.
Illegal activity includes holding a portable electronic device and:
- Talking on a handheld mobile telephone
- Composing, sending, reading, accessing, browsing, transmitting, saving, or retrieving electronic data such as e-mail, text messages, or webpages
- Viewing, taking, or transmitting images
- Playing games