Inspector General Releases Report on Fire Department Overtime Payments

The City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (OIG) transmitted a report to the City concerning overtime and holiday premium payments to certain “exempt” members of the Chicago Fire Department (CFD). The review had two primary findings.

First, the CFD has been providing overtime, holiday premium payments, and other benefits to certain “exempt” CFD employees not guaranteed such benefits by the Local 2 Agreement. Second, the CFD has been unable to accommodate the City’s furlough program without significant overtime and holiday premium payments to these “exempt” employees. “Exempt” employees are not included in the Chicago Fire Fighters Union Local 2 agreement.

OIG views the payment of these benefits to salaried, mostly high-ranking, supervisory and managerial employees as an unnecessary and significant drain on limited public resources. The OIG report strongly recommends these payments be discontinued. The OIG focused on payments made to 7 of the 44 exempt titles in the CFD. By reviewing payments made from 2005 to 2010, the OIG found that overtime payments have dramatically risen since 2006, and remained high for the past 4 years. Moreover, the collective payment of overtime and holiday premium pay negated furlough savings for those seven exempt titles. Over the past two years, the CFD has spent more than $335,000 on holiday and overtime spending when furloughs should have resulted in savings for these positions. More than $146,000 of that total resulted from 21 deputy district chiefs’ (DDCs) participation in the 2009 administration of the test required for promotion to lieutenant.