Could change be coming to Chief's office after scandal? - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Could change be coming to Chief's office after scandal?

19 Action News has learned of a new fallout from the pay scandal at the Cleveland Fire Department, new steps towards a permanent change at the top.

Things are a step closer to the Mayor deciding who's the boss with the first move towards putting a question on the ballot.  Should the Mayor appoint the Fire Chief?

So much talk of firefighters cheating the system.  Cleveland City Council's Public Safety Chairman says he's moving forward to put a question before voters whether the Mayor should appoint top firefighter brass.

Investigators found firefighters getting full pay while slipping buddies money under the table to cover for them, and bosses didn't stop it.

In March, we confronted the Fire Chief before he retired, "How didn't you pick up on this with so much of this happening even though you weren't seeing it day to day?"

His response, "I think that's the source of my disappointment is that I didn't see it."

Councilman Kevin Conwell says his group will hold a special meeting soon with the goal of having voters decide this fall if the Mayor should get more control over the Chief.

"He has to come back and report to you and if there's any ah, variances with payroll or any variances with any other matter this give you a freer hand to make some decisions," Conwell said.

City Hall says a vote would change the charter.  Firefighter managers are now civil service workers.  With this the Mayor could appoint the Chief and 7 top assistants.

Conwell's response is, "If it's going to save money and be better and stop the scandal I think it's a good idea."


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