Audit of KCK Fire Department alleges widespread abuse of tax payer dollars

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- A new report just released by KCK officials is shedding light on the way their firefighters are paid – and it alleges a widespread abuse of tax payer dollars.

A new audit of the KCK Fire Department shows many firefighters who traded shifts last year never reciprocated, and ended up getting paid for time not worked. Not only that, but the person they traded with also got paid for working the extra shifts. So two people were paid for one shift, costing taxpayers a total of more than $920,000 extra.

The KCK fire department began monitoring shift trades for the first time this past year, and an audit found abuses within the system.

Union rules dictate a firefighter works a 24-hour shift and then gets 48 hours off, and they can trade up to 24 shifts a year.

According to the report, 15 firefighters exceeded the 24-shift trade limit. In fact, one captain was paid more than $64,000 for time not worked, and one firefighter received an extra $33,000 for working other people’s shifts.

The report found excessive shift trading meant many firefighters worked extra hours without proper rest.

On any given day, around 20-percent of KCK firefighters working are sleep deprived, creating a liability to the city since a lack of sleep puts them and others at risk.

If you want to take a closer look at the report, click here.

There will be a special commission meeting Thursday at City Hall in KCK starting at 7 p.m. to address this report.

"On Saturday December 30, 2017, Kevin Shirley was announced by Doug Bach , County Administrator  as the interim Chief for the Kansas City Kansas Fire Department," spokesperson from the KCK Fire Department James Letcher said. "His appointment will start January 02, 2018. As part of  his duties, he will evaluate all operations of the Kansas City Kansas Fire Department over the coming months while he is in office."

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