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Crime and Courts


Thirteen Cleveland firefighters indicted
They're accused of theft-in-office by swapping a year or more of shifts
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE


Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
 
In The Region:

The Cuyahoga County grand jury has indicted 13 Cleveland firefighters in a shift-switching scandal that broke two years ago.

LISTEN: Schultze on Cleveland firefighter charges

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (1:05)


The indictments accuse the 13 of theft in office, a felony, and soliciting or receiving improper compensation, a misdemeanor.

All the charges are tied to allegations that the firefighters paid co-workers to pick up their shifts from 2006 through 2010 to the

Here's the list of those charged:  

  • 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

extent that many missed a year of work – but not pay -- or more.

The most serious allegations are against 52-year-old Calvin Robinson, who an audit said missed four-and-a-half years of work he got paid for while receiving full benefits and accruing vacation and sick time. 

According to the Plain Dealer, Robinson substituted as a Cleveland teacher and was a high school football coach, and operated a child-care center ,while working just one firefighter shift in two years.

Many of the firefighters held second jobs, and missed required training. 

City rules allow shift trading only in limited circumstances and forbid someone from being paid to pick up their shifts.

According to Cuyahoga county Prosecutor Tim McGinty, the firefighters were paid under the table to pick up the shifts and didn’t pay taxes. McGinty says the investigation is continuing.

The firefighters union issued a statement following the indictments saying it had only just become aware of the charges.

"As the legal process moves forward, we expect to gain a greater understanding of all the circumstances in this matter," the statement read. "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 FireFighters remain united and committed to protecting the lives and property of the citizens, businesses and visitors of the City of Cleveland."

Listener Comments:

What was stolen?
Section 7(p)(3) of the FLSA provides that two individuals employed in the same capacity by the same public agency may agree, solely at their option and with the approval of the public agency, to substitute for one another during scheduled work hours. 29 U.S.C. §207(p)(3). It further states that the hours worked by the substituting employee shall be excluded by the public agency in the calculation of the hours for which the substituting employee is entitled to overtime compensation under the Act. The implementing regulations provide that when “one employee substitutes for another, each employee will be credited as if he or she had worked his or her normal work schedule for that shift.” 29 CFR §553.31(a).


Posted by: Barry (RI) on May 15, 2013 5:05AM
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