Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Chicago Way

An arbitrator has sustained the grievances of four Chicago firefighters fired for submitting false reimbursement reports:

Independent arbitrator Edwin H. Benn said there is “no real dispute” that all of the accused “knowingly submitted inaccurate mileage-reimbursement reports and obtained compensation for mileage — ranging in some cases into the thousands of dollars — that they did not actually incur.” 
But Benn pointed to city Inspector General Joe Ferguson’s conclusion that the alleged mileage padding was a “decades-long practice that was condoned and encouraged by supervisors.” Benn quoted Ferguson as saying that many of he inspectors were “assured by their supervisors that the accuracy of their mileage totals would not be challenged.”
Apparently it's okay as long as everybody does it.

One question: have the complicit supervisors been fired? I mean, the ones who encouraged these firefighters to steal taxpayer money?


  1. I am not sure that the arbitrator said it was ok if everyone did it. It sounds like it was more an issue over the city not being able to fire employees who did what their supervisors encouraged them to do. One can make the argument that sort of termination is unfair.

    It would be interesting to know if the supervisors were fired or will be fired because of the result. At some point the employer has to be able to say that past practice is no longer tolerated.

  2. I think you are right. But perhaps a better cliche would be, "If they told you to jump a cliff, would you?" The idea that there was any question about the propriety of this conduct, from public employees, is absurd. Apparently the "supervisors" colluded in or even encouraged the conduct. So what? Fire them all. They got together and knowingly defrauded taxpayers. Get a new damn job, the whole lot of them, and let's get some people with an ounce of integrity working for us.

  3. Does the question hinge on whether or not the supervisors were fired? If they were, then it doesn't seem unfair to fire the firefighters.


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