The old saying goes, “out of the frying pan and into the fire”.
Timothy O'Toole, a 31 year veteran of the Cleveland Fire Department, was sworn-in today as interim chief. O’Toole replaces Paul Stubbs, who retired.
The chief’s office is considered a 'hot seat", given the outrage at Cleveland City Hall, over audits that revealed some firefighters abused sick time and fraudulently traded shifts with co-workers.
Last Wednesday, 46-year-old Timothy DeBarr became the first firefighter caught up in the scandal to plead guilty. Prosecutors say DeBarr secretly paid co-workers to cover his assignments for more than a year, while he continued to collect full pay.
Interim Chief O’Toole said new safeguards are being put into place to prevent time-card abuse and corruption involving the trading of shifts. The fire department is now moving toward a centralized, automated timekeeping system, that the interim chief promises will include a series of check and balances.
"We will be reviewing everything that gets submitted multiple times, it will be reviewed at payroll and we'll continue to work with internal audit to insure that the timekeeping and payroll procedures are implemented correctly," said O’Toole.