CLEVELAND – Thirteen Cleveland firefighters were indicted on theft charges on Wednesday as a result of a July 2011 audit.
The city of Cleveland said it conducted two internal audits involving the Division of Fire’s payroll; the first focused on timekeeping and the second on internal shift trades. The results were turned over to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office in August.
From 2006 to 2010, 13 firefighters did not work 2,000 hours, approximately one year, of scheduled time, the audit found. The prosecutor’s office said this allowed them to work a second full-time job.
Despite the fact that they were not logging hours with the Cleveland Division of Fire, the workers were still getting their yearly salary, insurance benefits, pension, clothing allowance and sick time.
“The public’s trust was violated. In addition to not working and receiving full pay, these individuals abused the system and collected retirement, vacation, medical and other benefits,” said Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty in a news release. They caused other firefighters to work multiple days without rest. Fatigued firefighters put the safety of the people who are in danger at risk as well as their fellow firefighters.”
The following people were indicted on one count each of theft in office and soliciting or receiving improper compensation:
Calvin Robinson, 52, of Cleveland
Kevin Dever, 42, of Cleveland
Bernard Fronhapple, 51, of Rocky River
Barry Kifus, 40, of Painesville
Kevin P. Kelly, 52, of Olmsted Falls
James Oleksiak, 44, of Cleveland
Robert Graham, 50, of Lakewood
Michael Milano, 53, of Broadview Heights
Nicholas Rucella, 49, of Cleveland
Gary McNamara, 48, of Bay Village
Peter Corso, 47, of Concord
Thomas Jurcisin, 51, of Cleveland
Daniel Losteiner, 45, of Cleveland
The prosecutor’s office said Robinson did not work more than 8,000 hours, which is equal to four and a half years.
In addition to the charges, the city of Cleveland said these firefighters will be immediately relieved of duty and it’s expected they will be suspended without pay. Fire Chief Daryl McGinnis will adjust schedules so these suspensions will not impact response time, the city said.
The International Association of Fire Fighters Local 93 released the following statement:
“The Association of Cleveland Fire Fighters has become aware of the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s review of an audit regarding the Cleveland Fire Department.
“As the legal process moves forward, we expect to gain a greater understanding of all the circumstances in this matter. We have been and will continue to represent our members in all matters related to the terms and conditions of their employment.
“As always, Cleveland Fire Fighters remain united and committed to protecting the lives and property of the citizens, businesses and visitors of the City of Cleveland.”
The city would not comment on the pending investigation.