Cleveland Fire Department audit finds firefighters potentially undertrained, some overpaid

CLEVELAND - An audit of the Cleveland Fire Department shows lapses in recordkeeping and oversight by management that could result in firefighters not being properly trained and, in other cases, being paid too much for training.

The audit, conducted by Resources Global Professionals, reviewed training records for the Cleveland Fire Department from Jan. 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012.

Auditors found 390 instances where a firefighter received credit for a training drill, but "appeared to be absent" at the time. 

The audit also showed the department uses a series of "disjointed databases" to track the training hours. Auditors said that "makes monitoring of an individuals' training courses and hours and State certification status difficult"  and "increases the risk that the individual is not properly trained."

The audit also found 39 out of 60 firefighters in their sample each exceeded state minimums for training by more than 300 hours, "which seems excessive," according to the auditors.

The 19-page document recommends the Cleveland Fire Department create a single database to record training hours and to monitor paid training overtime, instead of the three databases currently used by the department to track training hours.

Another recommendation made is for fire department management to perform its own review of training hours, determine the appropriate level of training for both fire and medical personnel, and develop a policy to insure the appropriate amount of training takes place.

The auditors were asked to review the records in August after a payroll abuse scandal that revealed some firefighters were being paid for work they weren't doing.

Watch NewsChannel5 at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. for more on the fire department audit.

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