CLEVELAND (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-TEAM has found a group of people paid out of your tax money even as record-setting numbers of people find themselves unemployed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
For years, the Cleveland Police Monitoring Team has been overseeing reform in the police department. Well over a dozen members each get paid $250 an hour.
But lately, Cleveland police have cut way back on arresting people and making traffic stops because of the coronavirus. Yet, the I-TEAM found in March that the monitoring team billed the city more than $50,000.
The group includes members from the city and around the country. They review everything done by Cleveland police and also help rewrite policies plus more.
We tracked down one local member but when we tried to ask questions, he referred us to the head of the group.
Councilman Brian Kazy has been a watchdog questioning the police monitors.
“And to still be billing us for 250 dollars an hour at a time when the city’s doing all they can not to furlough people and lay people off is a little disheartening,” said Councilman Kazy. “Ten minutes here, fifteen minutes there, a phone call, maybe an email, we have no idea what they’re doing. Just continuing to bill and bill at 250 dollars an hour.”
The group was set up to meet for 5 years, and the total amount of money collected from City Hall by this group can’t go above 5 million dollars.
We checked the records and as the group is coming toward the end of its term to meet, the total billing is coming right down to the overall maximum limit.
The I-TEAM reached out to the head of the monitoring group with a phone message, and we sent an e-mail to the group through its website, but did not hear back.
While the March billing has been submitted, City Hall says April’s billing has not come in yet.