Chicago's Inspector General Joe Ferguson says the 54 firefighters who have admitted to padding their mileage reports for reimbursement when using their personal vehicles for inspections should be fired. In 2009 alone, the fraudulent activity cost the city an estimated $100,000 -- and the activity has been allegedly happening with inspectors in the Fire Prevention Bureau for years.
"Some flat out said, 'This is what we're told to do. This is the way we've always done it, and I've been here since 1991,'" a source told the Sun-Times.
Ferguson is advising the mayor to use the firings as a chance to roll the Fire Prevention Bureau's inspection work into the city's Building Department.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel took a different position on the problem. Calling it
"systemic," "cultural," and "repetitive," Emanuel said he has tasked
Fire Commissioner Robert Hoff to look at the issue instead of the mass
firing. In Ferguson's report, however, the IG said the firing would be a
good opportunity for the city's Buildings Department to absorb the Fire
Prevention Bureau's work to save money and resources. The Chicago
Firefighters Union Local slams Ferguson for the recommendation, calling