• 9 Investigates more questions about Orlando firefighters off-duty payments


    ORLANDO, Fla. - 9 Investigates has uncovered troubling new evidence about the way Orlando firefighters are making money on the side.
    On Monday, Channel 9's Kathi Belich reported on how the firefighters' union is concerned that some firefighters are working off-duty jobs that are undocumented and paid in cash, and they are using city of Orlando equipment.
    Belich found paperwork that shows it's happened at least twice, for big events.
    City officials said the two pages uncovered by Belich are the only documents it has on the firefighters' off-duty work for two big events in the last six months -- the Electric Daisy Carnival in November and the Earth Day Birthday in April. There are no signatures, totals or invoices.
    They are two big, recent events for which the city said off-duty Orlando firefighters were paid directly by vendors, either by cash or check, to handle public safety.
    Channel 9 requested all of the documents related to those off-duty jobs and were given the two pages that contained only a list of names and pay rates.
    Orlando Professional Fire Fighters Union President Steve Clelland told Belich that more than $24,000 in cash would have been doled out by fire supervisors at the end of the two-day carnival.
    "Nowhere in history, that I'm aware of, has ever, when government officials are dealing with cash, has anything ever come good from that. This is insane," said Clelland.
    Union officials said if the city had administered payment, as the contract requires, the city would have charged the vendors a 15 percent fee. There are no records showing city taxpayers were ever compensated for the use of city equipment and trucks at the events.
    "Where, anywhere in government, are you offered pay me by check and it costs you 15 percent or you do the cash deal?" Clelland asked.
    There is no indication vendors did anything wrong by paying the off-duty firefighters directly, but Clelland said he plans to take this up with the chief at a meeting Wednesday.
    "It's just a free-for-all. There is literally, apparently no oversight whatsoever. Nobody knows how much was paid," said Clelland.
    In its grievance the union is demanding that the city pay any fines or penalties for any unreported income.

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    9 Investigates more questions about Orlando firefighters off-duty payments