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Fraction Of 54 Firefighters To Be Fired In Mileage Scandal

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Chicago Fire Department

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CHICAGO (CBS) — WBBM Newsradio has learned that the Chicago Fire Department now plans to fire only a fraction of the 54 firefighters accused of padding their mileage expenses.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports, city Inspector General Joe Ferguson recommended firing all 54 firefighters in the Fire Prevention Bureau.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports

The 54 were accused of falsifying their mileage expenses so they could be reimbursed for driving their own cars to inspections.

Late last month, the Fire Department moved to fire them all.

But now, WBBM Newsradio has learned that the fire department plans to fire only four.

“Four of the inspectors will be terminated.  These are inspectors who had work history that indicated that they did not go along with an agreement that they would do no wrong in the future,” department spokesman Larry Langford said.

In other words, the four being fired had been in trouble before, as WBBM Newsradio first reported. Half a dozen others are retiring, and the remainder, more than 40 firefighters, will only get suspensions.

Sources say the bulk of those suspensions will result in a loss of about $9,000 in salary per firefighter.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said last month that 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.

Meanwhile, Gregory Boggs of the African-American Firefighters and Paramedics League argued last month that the moved to fire the 54 firefighters was the city’s way to make room for a recent court-ordered hiring of 111 black firefighter applicants, and called it “retaliation” for the case that brought the order.

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