Some people were very upset about WGRZ reporter Scott Brown's story on the alleged buying and selling of overtime in the Buffalo Fire Department. I wrote about the story yesterday and will continue to cover any future developments involving it.
Both sides (the Mayor and the BFD) have raised questions and I hope the media continues to look for answers. According to Scott Brown's story on WGRZ, "a number of firefighters admitted to buying and selling overtime" during the recent arbitration hearings. Will the mayor or the local media be willing to publicly name those people?
As one of the anonymous commentators under my story says, if the city is going to make allegations on scamming, they should be open about who is doing the scamming. They need to stop making vague statements. Otherwise, their allegations carry no weight. For example, according to the story, in 2008 the city claims that a substantial amount of overtime fell into the hands of a few members. They should identify who those members were and compare the amount of overtime they were given to that of everyone else. Were the people receiving the overtime close to retirement?
Conversely, union President Dan Cunningham points to lack of manpower for all the overtime. But he doesn't explain why so much of it went to a few individuals. Also, during the arbitration hearings, some firefighters said some of their coworkers called in when they were not sick in an effort to manufacture overtime. Which is it? Are they short staffed or are people "gaming the system?"
Personally, I will continue to write things as I see them. If there are other questions people think need to be asked, please let me know. I'm no fan of Byron Brown. He's a terrible liar, not to mention an empty suit. Scott Brown left a career in politics (he was Dennis Gorski's former spokesperson) and could be trying to fall into favor with the mayor. But I do find "pension padding" to be a disgusting practice. I look forward to more facts coming out.
Anonymous people can also feel free to write whatever they want about me with their comments. It doesn't bother me in the least, and I won't be dragged into this discussion. I don't represent or work for the mayor, WGRZ, or the Buffalo Fire Department. I'm just an independent taxpayer with a column.