Cleveland Division of Fire Chief Patrick Kelly announced today the result of disciplinary actions taken against 17 Cleveland Division of Fire supervisors for their role in the shift-trading abuse that resulted in 13 Cleveland firefighters pleading guilty to misdemeanor charges earlier this year. Charges are pending against an 18th supervisor who is currently on leave.
The results of the disciplinary actions taken are as follows: seven supervisors were suspended for one 24-hour shift; five supervisors were suspended for two 24-hour shifts; two supervisors were suspended for one 24-hour shift to be held in abeyance; two supervisors were reprimanded; and one supervisor was suspended for three 24-hour shifts.
“The lack of supervisory oversight in the Division of Fire regarding this matter enabled firefighters to engage in a practice of swapping their scheduled work shifts in violation of an established policy,” said Chief of Fire Patrick Kelly. “This practice not only eroded the public trust, but also brought significant scrutiny and dishonor to the Division.”
The disciplinary actions taken today are a direct result of the city’s internal investigation and audits of the Division of Fire’s policies and practices related to shift trades, payroll, timekeeping and record keeping. Discipline for these supervisors was under review in 2013 but put on hold pending the outcome of the criminal and the administrative charges filed against the 13 Cleveland firefighters. The initial review of the supervisory chain-of-command of those involved in the criminal proceedings identified approximately 40 direct and secondary supervisors for divisional charges; however, due to separations and retirements, only 18 supervisors remain with the Division.
As a result of the city’s internal audits, numerous changes have been made within the Division of Fire, including the implementation of a revised shift trade policy in 2012, enhanced supervisory training and the use of technology to ensure more accurate payroll record keeping. In addition, as part of the integration of the Divisions of Fire and EMS, timekeeping and payroll functions for the two divisions have been consolidated under the oversight of a civilian manager who reports directly to an Assistant Director of Public Safety.