CHICAGO (CBS) — The Fire Department has moved to terminate 54 firefighters accused of padding their mileage expenses, WBBM Newsradio has learned.

As Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports, the move comes despite Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s assertion that dismissing the firefighters might not be cost effective.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports

The firefighters, all from the Fire Prevention Bureau, are accused of falsifying mileage so they could be reimbursed for driving their own cars to inspections.

Mayor Emanuel has said he is all for rooting out corruption – but that terminating those firefighters might cost more in the long run, since the city will have to pay for the grievance process that will result.

But now, the city is quietly moving to fire them anyway.

“They’re recommending termination for all of them but some of them already had enough time to go ahead and retire in lieu of termination,” said Gregory Boggs, president of the African-American Firefighters and Paramedics League.

Boggs says of the 54 firefighters poised to be fired, 37 are African-American.

He believes the move to fire them is the city’s way to make room for last week’s court-ordered hiring of 111 black firefighter applicants.

“I really do,” Boggs said. “I really feel this here is kind of like retaliation.”

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