CLEVELAND -- In a statement released at 2 p.m. Wednesday, city officials confirm that firefighter Calvin Robinson, who faced discipline after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of complicity to receiving unlawful compensation last month, has been terminated by the city of Cleveland.
Per city policy, Robinson was placed on unpaid administrative leave on May 22, 2013, pending adjudication of the felony and misdemeanor charges filed against him on May 17, 2013.
An administrative hearing was conducted on April 22. Robinson was a 23-year veteran of the Division of Fire.
Robinson is one of 13 firefighters who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.
He moonlighted as a substitute teacher, assistant Glenville football coach and ran a day care center.
He owed 8,500 hours, about 3-1/2 years of work he paid colleagues to work for him.
Safety Director Michael McGrath called Robinson's behavior "incomprehensible."
Prosecutors said the firefighters ripped off taxpayers and endangered colleagues and firefighters.
The city also announced it will charge 19 supervisors with administrative violations for not closely supervising and allowing the excessive shift trades.
The firefighters' union said it's "disappointed" by Robinson's termination and "perplexed" by the city's action against supervisors.
The union blames the shift trade issues on lack of oversight by the city, particularly former Chief Paul Stubbs,.
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The statement read, in part, that "At the heart of this matter is the Division of Fire's shift trade policy, which allows firefighters to trade shifts as long as the trades are made up within a specified period of time. The City of Cleveland's internal audits and an investigation revealed that Robinson had an outstanding balance of more than 10,000 hours -- hours that other firefighters worked for him and that he never made up by working shifts for the other firefighters."
"These criminal charges and the disciplinary action stem from the City's internal investigation and audits of the Division of Fire's policies and practices related to shift trades, payroll, timekeeping and record keeping. Now, 20 supervisors in the Division of Fire face administrative charges as a result of these internal reviews."
"Discipline for the supervisors was under review in 2013 but put on hold pending the outcome of the criminal charges and the administrative charges filed against Robinson and 12 other Cleveland firefighters."
"After the City's audits were completed, the City hired former federal prosecutor Ronald Bakeman in January, 2012 to assist the Cleveland Division of Police Internal Affairs Unit in determining if there was any criminality involved in the shift trade practices of individual firefighters."
"The resulting report was given to the County Prosecutor's Office for review in August 2012. Since the audits, the Jackson Administration has instituted a number of changes to the administrative policies and procedures in the Division of Fire, including a revised shift trade policy, enhanced supervisory training and the use of technology to ensure more accurate payroll record keeping."
The Cleveland firefighters' union also released a statement:
"The Association of Cleveland Fire Fighters is disappointed by the City's inexplicable decision to terminate one fire fighter and pursue administrative charges against others related to a now years-old "internal audits." As documented in the findings of the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office, the issues with shift trades resulted from "the near-total absence of any oversight by the City, particularly former Fire Chief Paul Stubbs."
"Fire Fighters voted overwhelmingly to improve the shift trade procedure in early 2012, and modern information management systems have been implemented. Yet the City is still unnecessarily focused on issues that have been addressed. The shift trade issue appeared to be fully resolved in February, when twelve fire fighters were returned to duty from improper administrative leaves. The issue resurfaced only after fire fighters voted to reject a collective bargaining proposal from the City in March, and later requested a detailed fire apparatus safety plan from City Officials just a few days ago."
"Twice in recent weeks Ladder 1, the downtown ladder company, has been forced to respond to emergencies in high rise buildings in an old rescue squad without a life-saving aerial ladder or even a full complement of ground ladders. A similar situation occurred at the same time with Ladder 39 in the West Park neighborhood, prompting the request for a safety plan."
"To date, no such plan has been received. Both the men and women of the Cleveland Fire Department, and the public, deserve better."