CFD fires 4, suspends 43 in fraud scandal

A firetruck is shown in the file image.

September 15, 2011 9:03:25 AM PDT
The Chicago Fire Department fired four firefighters and suspended 43 others without pay for falsifying requests for mileage reimbursements inside the Fire Prevention Bureau.

On Thursday, Fire Commissioner Robert Hoff said that his order to tighten the policy and procedure for the use of personal cars by Fire Prevention Bureau inspectors had led to a drop of $16,000 since August 2010. He called the savings "substantial" for taxpayers in a statement.

Following the investigation, the command staff of the unit was replaced, a deputy fire commissioner resigned and another supervisor returned to battalion chief.

"While I feel confident that these new reimbursement policies have addressed the process, it has not dealt with the root of the problem-the culture within the Fire Prevention Bureau that operated on a "because we have always done it this way," mentality," Commissioner Hoff said. "The status quo will not work for me, and I have begun to make changes make management changes within the Fire Prevention Bureau to address deficiencies in leadership."

The suspensions range from 30 to 60 days and on average, costs the employees as much as $12,000 out of pocket.

"I took these allegations very seriously, as Chicago Fire Department employees must operate with the full trust of Chicago residents and taxpayers - I will not tolerate anything less, and those who violate that trust by breaking rules and engaging in prohibited conduct will be disciplined," said Hoff.

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