No Special Audit of Cleveland Fire Department

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CLEVELAND, Ohio—Ohio’s Auditor of State will not be conducting a special audit of the Cleveland Fire Department.

A letter sent by Ohio Auditor David Yost to Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson says that his office does not feel the Cleveland Fire Department exceeding its budget by $700,000 warrant the initiation of a special audit.

According to Cleveland Public Safety Director Martin Flask, the Fire Department claimed $700,000 more than its budget allowed in overtime. Overall budget expenditures exceeded $1.5 million for the calendar year.

A two-phase audit of the Fire Department conducted by the City of Cleveland is focusing on possible payroll violations. The violations relate to alleged shift trades that had fire fighters getting paychecks for hours not worked.

Auditor Yost recommends that the city’s annual financial audit of the Fire Department consist of a larger sampling of the department’s payroll and the internal controls related to issuing overtime.

The first phase of Cleveland’s audit of the Fire Department revealed that one employee, firefighter Calvin Robinson, worked just five days in 2009 and six days in 2010, yet earned a base salary of more than $53,000.

The audit also found three fire fighters who live out of state, in Pennsylvania, Kentucky and California.

Firefighters Local 93 President Tom Lally contacted Yost’s office in mid-December to request the special audit.