CLEVELAND -- More fallout in the ongoing “payroll scandal” investigation within the Cleveland Fire Department. A special investigator is now recommending criminal charges be brought against five more Cleveland firefighters, accused of illegally paying fellow firefighters to fill-in for them, while they work other full time jobs, even run their own businesses.
Special investigator and former federal prosecutor Ronald Bakemen has identified the department members as Kevin Dever, Barry Kifus, Michael Milano, Calvin Robinson and Scott Uline. All accused of paying fellow firefighters to work their shifts.
Safety Director Martin Flask reacting, saying “I think this investigation is open ended and clearly there will be other potential criminal actions and the administrative disciplinary actions that will arise from this investigation.”
The latest chapter in the investigation show some had not worked a regularly scheduled shift in more than a year. Two months ago, former Cleveland firefighter Timothy Debarr pled guilty, after paying co-workers to work for him more than 4-thousand hours of shift exchanges between January 2009 and December 2010. Debarr only served a third of his 60-day jail sentence.
The Cleveland Firefighters Union released a statement which reads in part:
“Local 93 continues to move forward with the principles that have helped maintain the safety of the city and well-earned reputation as community protectors. These principles are to consistently provide the highest level of fire protection, rescue services and emergency medical care to the public we serve.”
If prosecutors agree with the recommendation, the five firefighters could be charged with violating a state law that prohibits government employees from paying co-workers to fill their shifts. They also could be charged with theft.
If found guilty, they could face up to a year in jail, a $1,000 fine and loss of employment.