By Ed Runyan
The Trumbull County Sheriff’s office has investigated a complaint from a union representative at the county engineer’s office about cameras recently installed at the North River Road facility.
Lee Stauffer of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union filed a report with the sheriff’s office Tuesday, saying cameras were placed in men’s and women’s locker-room areas in the engineer’s garage that would enable supervisors to “watch the females undressing.”
He also charged that audio devices are in the cameras, which would enable management to listen to conversations in the area, including “union business.”
However, Maj. Thomas Stewart of the sheriff’s office talked with two female employees Wednesday during a tour, and the workers said the area in question is a break room near two lockers, and they “never undress” in that area. If they do need to change, they do it in a restroom.
Stewart filed a police report on his findings.
Randy Smith, county engineer, said Stauffer apparently is referring to a camera that was installed in a “common area” that is open, with various doorways, and in some cases, the doorways don’t have doors on them.
The area has supplies and tools in it and has no privacy, Smith said.
As for audio capabilities, none of the cameras in use in the past or the new cameras were enabled to capture audio, Smith said.
During the tour, employee Nicole Klingeman, who supervised the camera installation, told Stewart the cameras were installed starting May 6.
She called Stewart on Friday to report that Valley Electrical Consolidated of Girard, the contractor working on the project, returned to the garage and removed all devices from the cameras that, if enabled, could pick up sound.
Smith said the engineer’s office now has 17 cameras, an increase of about seven over what it had before.
He said one reason he decided to have new cameras installed was because of vandalism that took place inside the garage area recently and because of the amount of salt, asphalt and other materials being shared at the engineer’s facilities by other government entities.
The engineer’s office and its employees are in contract negotiations, with the contract having expired April 19, Smith said.