• 9 Investigates: Orlando stops direct payments to firefighters using city gear for off-duty jobs


    ORLANDO, Fla. - Orlando firefighters who use city-owned equipment will soon have to follow new rules when they are working off-duty jobs.
    When off-duty Orlando firefighters work at Orlando Magic basketball games at the Amway Center the teams pay the firefighters' salaries and give the city a 15 percent fee.
    Off-duty firefighters work in Orlando uniforms, in Orlando trucks and use Orlando city equipment.
    Channel 9 learned that some vendors, including the vendor from the two-day Electric Daisy Carnival last year, have been able to bypass paying the city's 15 percent fee by paying firefighters directly, either with cash or checks. That leaves the city uncompensated for the use of taxpayer-funded equipment.
    Channel 9 exposed the direct cash payments earlier this week in a report.
    On Wednesday, irefighters' union president Steve Clelland said the city has now changed its policy.
    "The chief advised us today the practice would stop immediately. That all off-duty, as it should be since day one, all-off duty firefighters are paid back through the city. The vendor pays the city, the city pays firefighters," said Clelland.

    Clelland said the decision was made after he met with Orlando Fire Chief John Miller Wednesday.
    Clelland said that also starting immediately,  a civilian city employee, who won't benefit from the off-duty work, will run the program.
    The union president said the union's contract requires the city to administer the off-duty payments and he said the union had filed a grievance over it. In the grievance the union is also demanding the city pay for any fines and penalties over any unreported income.

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