Chicago Suspends 16 Firefighters for Falsifying Mileage

The Chicago Tribune reports that another group of Chicago Fire Department personnel has been suspended for falsifying thousands of dollars worth of mileage reimbursement claims, according to a report released by the city’s top internal watchdog.

In all, 17 firefighters and paramedics in the Fire Prevention Bureau and Public Education Unit were paid more than $35,000 in 2009 for mileage they never traveled on the job, Inspector General Joseph Ferguson’s latest quarterly report states. Many allegedly falsified records to claim the maximum allowed $350 in monthly payments.

All but one, who retired, were suspended without pay for 30 to 45 days. Ferguson had recommended that all be fired, but the city noted a prior failure to make that punishment stick in a related case.

In 2011, Ferguson recommended firing all but one of 54 firefighters assigned to the Fire Prevention Bureau who falsely claimed a total of $100,000 in mileage claims during 2009. Fire Department officials moved to fire four of those firefighters and suspend the rest, but an arbitrator reversed the firings.

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