Muni mechanic may be banned from working in SF after fraud allegation 

click to enlarge Thomas Hidayat, a 32-year veteran with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, faces a ban from working for the City and County of San Francisco, after fellow cable car workers were caught punching the clock for him. (Examiner file photo) - THOMAS HIDAYAT, A 32-YEAR VETERAN WITH THE SAN FRANCISCO MUNICIPAL TRANSPORTATION AGENCY, FACES A BAN FROM WORKING FOR THE CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO, AFTER FELLOW CABLE CAR WORKERS WERE CAUGHT PUNCHING THE CLOCK FOR HIM. (EXAMINER FILE
  • Thomas Hidayat, a 32-year veteran with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, faces a ban from working for the City and County of San Francisco, after fellow cable car workers were caught punching the clock for him. (Examiner file
  • Thomas Hidayat, a 32-year veteran with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, faces a ban from working for the City and County of San Francisco, after fellow cable car workers were caught punching the clock for him. (Examiner file photo)

A former Muni cable car mechanic who allegedly had his subordinates punch in his timecard for him while he wasn’t working faces a ban from future employment by San Francisco.

On several different occasions in June 2010, co-workers of Thomas Hidayat, a 32-year veteran with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, were caught clocking out for him, even though he was no longer on the work site.

SFMTA officials had grown suspicious that Hidayat, who earned an annual salary of $101,088 as a mechanic supervisor, was not clocking the hours he claimed. The agency set up a video camera to check on the timecard area at the agency’s cable car barn.

During a weeklong span in mid-June, video footage captured Hidayat’s subordinates clocking out his timecards on three different occasions. The next week, after cable car manager Christopher Hill checked in on the matter further, he noticed that Hidayat clocked in from 10:47 p.m. to 6:26 p.m. on June 30, even though his co-workers said that he normally had the day off and no one saw him at the barn for the entire day.

The following day, July 1, Hidayat was recorded as leaving the barn at 6:10 p.m., even though several co-workers said he left at 2 p.m. Also, the video camera that had been set up to monitor the timecard area had been unplugged.

When management officials asked Hidayat if he punched out during these days, he first replied, “I punched in,” before later admitting that he did not actually clock out himself.

Taking that evidence, the SFMTA recommended the dismissal of Hidayat, citing agency rules against dishonesty and falsifying reports. Hidayat’s contract was terminated on March 11, but he appealed the decision to the Civil Service Commission, which oversees all employment disputes for The City.

However, the Civil Service Commission has taken the SFMTA’s decision one step further, recommending that Hidayat be barred from any future employment by The City and County of San Francisco. On Monday, Hidayat and the Civil Service Commission will discuss the dispute.

Hidayat has said that at the time of the alleged incidents, he and his wife were both dealing with serious illnesses and he wasn’t acclimated to the agency’s new punch clock system. He also made note that two of his peers at the cable car barn were not subject to the same requirements for using the system, and that he was being singled out by management for his race.

In his filing with the Civil Service Commission, Hidayat included several letters of commendations from city officials, including congratulatory notes for his work from former Mayor Gavin Newsom and former SFMTA executive director Nathaniel Ford.

Ford, who left the agency in June, first approved the motion to dismiss Hidayat. New SFMTA director Ed Reiskin later reiterated that position.

Calls to Hidayat’s union, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 6, were not returned Friday.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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Will Reisman

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