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Shift Trade Scandals?

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  • johnsb
    replied
    There are a lot worse things that can happen than abuse of shift trades. Typically it's only a very few that really abuse the system, and generally a Battalion Chief should be able to nip it in the bud before it gets to the point where it's news worthy.

    Leave a comment:


  • Here and there
    replied
    Originally posted by tree68 View Post
    Our corrections officers are legendary for shift swaps. A hunter may trade shifts so he can have all of hunting season off, while a fisherman will do the same for time off in the summer. Most of them keep a notebook in their pocket so they can keep track of it all. Since they work 8 hour shifts (vs the longer shifts firefighters usually work), they usually just end up working a lot of doubles.

    CO's working at a jail a distance from home may trade so they can spend longer periods at home, and so they can save on lodging - much as Here and There described..

    Haven't heard of shift swaps being an issue with either of the local career-staffed fire departments. One is federal, which could also be a factor.
    Not working 24 hour shifts opens things wide open for options, working some days off, or pulling 1 1/2 (staying late / coming in early) or even double shifts can open up a lot of time off without much hardship on either party.

    Having done both there is a big difference working 14 days straight 8-12 hours / day but going home every night, and working 72, 96, 120 hours straight. I pulled a 168 hour shift once (OT), it was brutal. I regularly work 14-21 days during the summer but we get at least 8 hours down every night so your brain gets a break.


    I don't think trades are much of an issue for most departments, but they tend to make the news when they do become an issue. It feeds right into the belief that firefighters have a cushy job getting paid to eat and sleep. There is a not small number of people out there who think firefighters even get free food. More than once I have had people ask what their taxes were buying us for dinner.
    Last edited by Here and there; 01-05-2018, 06:54 PM.

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  • Here and there
    replied
    Originally posted by captnjak View Post

    The city is not really paying for two firefighters unless both are working at the same time.
    What I mean is they are paying benefits for two firefighters, but not really receiving the full benefits of having two firefighters. It would likely be cheaper for the city to just pay OT in place of the second firefighter. Other firefighters are working more to cover the shifts just like overtime creating additional fatigue. There is no benefit to the city in allowing firefighters to pay people to work their shifts. I can't think of many employers in any industry that would be cool with an employee taking a salary and then subcontracting the work to another employee.

    Shift trades are different as both employees are working the same number of hours, just rearranged.
    Last edited by Here and there; 01-05-2018, 06:50 PM.

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  • tree68
    replied
    Our corrections officers are legendary for shift swaps. A hunter may trade shifts so he can have all of hunting season off, while a fisherman will do the same for time off in the summer. Most of them keep a notebook in their pocket so they can keep track of it all. Since they work 8 hour shifts (vs the longer shifts firefighters usually work), they usually just end up working a lot of doubles.

    CO's working at a jail a distance from home may trade so they can spend longer periods at home, and so they can save on lodging - much as Here and There described..

    Haven't heard of shift swaps being an issue with either of the local career-staffed fire departments. One is federal, which could also be a factor.

    Leave a comment:


  • captnjak
    replied
    Originally posted by Here and there View Post
    Everywhere I've worked trades had to be repaid within the same 14 day pay period so room for abuse was pretty limited.

    We did have guys with side jobs who needed to get out of mandatory overtime, and sometimes they would throw some cash on top of the overtime pay earned to sweeten the deal and get someone to take the shift for them, but that is a different issue. They were just getting off the bubble so they could work another job, not paying someone to take their regular shift. The department was paying overtime to the guy that actually worked not the guy going to another job.


    The ones I've read about as problems it seems individuals can rack up a large number of trades over time, and then something happens (hurt / quit / fired) that prevents the trades from being paid back. In a few cases it seems firefighters were just paying someone to work for them. Once or twice probably wouldn't be a big deal but there have been some that apparently didn't show up for months. Not hard to see how someone could work that in their favor. Experienced firefighter paying less senior members. Depending on the department there can be a significant pay difference between rookies and journey firefighters. He still makes a little money off of his higher pay, but more importantly collects retirement, leave and benefits while working at an entirely different job. The city gets a less experienced, less rested firefighter in the seat while paying for two firefighters. The city would probably save money just paying overtime.


    With the cost of housing in California I've heard stories of guys living in other states and doing trades to work for weeks at a time with weeks off. That seems like a safety issue to me, particularly in a busy station. I've worked a week straight in a slow station (overtime) and I was loopy by the time I went home.
    The city is not really paying for two firefighters unless both are working at the same time.

    Leave a comment:


  • Here and there
    replied
    Everywhere I've worked trades had to be repaid within the same 14 day pay period so room for abuse was pretty limited.

    We did have guys with side jobs who needed to get out of mandatory overtime, and sometimes they would throw some cash on top of the overtime pay earned to sweeten the deal and get someone to take the shift for them, but that is a different issue. They were just getting off the bubble so they could work another job, not paying someone to take their regular shift. The department was paying overtime to the guy that actually worked not the guy going to another job.


    The ones I've read about as problems it seems individuals can rack up a large number of trades over time, and then something happens (hurt / quit / fired) that prevents the trades from being paid back. In a few cases it seems firefighters were just paying someone to work for them. Once or twice probably wouldn't be a big deal but there have been some that apparently didn't show up for months. Not hard to see how someone could work that in their favor. Experienced firefighter paying less senior members. Depending on the department there can be a significant pay difference between rookies and journey firefighters. He still makes a little money off of his higher pay, but more importantly collects retirement, leave and benefits while working at an entirely different job. The city gets a less experienced, less rested firefighter in the seat while paying for two firefighters. The city would probably save money just paying overtime.


    With the cost of housing in California I've heard stories of guys living in other states and doing trades to work for weeks at a time with weeks off. That seems like a safety issue to me, particularly in a busy station. I've worked a week straight in a slow station (overtime) and I was loopy by the time I went home.

    Leave a comment:


  • RFDACM02
    replied
    Originally posted by captnjak View Post

    I don't get the selling of shifts. Around here, if someone needs a scheduled tour off someone else works for him. Eventually that guy will have a tour he needs off and it will be paid back. We help each other out. Expecting to be paid simply to trade shifts would be considered a scumbag move.
    This is how it work here as well, minus computer tracking. I can see where someone could pay someone to work and be getting all the benefits while working another job and that really is just wrong. We also only let personnel trade within their ranks for the most part. Officers can swap short coverage hours as long as both are cleared to be the duty officer or an IC. Bigger problem in our department is making sure FF/medics and no medic FF swaps don't deplete ALS resources.

    Leave a comment:


  • Too_Old
    replied
    Straight trades among similarly paid FFs shouldn't make a difference to the city finances.
    I can see how there is an issue for the city if they have to pay overtime to cover shifts that have been traded away or if there is monkeybusiness with senior FFs doing trades that don't actually happen to game the retirement system.

    The HFD article just sounds like sour grapes because someone is not included in the system. Whether people pay taxes on comp they receive privately shouldn't really be anyone elses business.

    Leave a comment:


  • captnjak
    replied
    Several of these links mention selling of shifts. Sounds like a tax problem more than anything else, assuming the shift is actually paid back at some point.

    One article mentioned a guy getting a full year off. How would he ever pay all those tours back? Sounds like they were one sided deals.

    I don't get the selling of shifts. Around here, if someone needs a scheduled tour off someone else works for him. Eventually that guy will have a tour he needs off and it will be paid back. We help each other out. Expecting to be paid simply to trade shifts would be considered a scumbag move.

    A no pay back trade can't be done because all shifts are tracked in a computer program. Big brother is definitely watching here.

    One article mentioned firefighters working as Captains due to swapping shifts. This should not be allowed. Clearly a safety issue. Kind of shocking that a city department even allows it.

    Leave a comment:


  • RFDACM02
    started a topic Shift Trade Scandals?

    Shift Trade Scandals?

    I may be having a high brain density day but I guess I'm not fully grasping how shift trading turns into a scheme? I'm not looking to weigh in specifically in the Kansas City KS issue, but the article here makes me wonder how it works?

    If someone has a shift trade (we calla swap) doesn't someone work the shift, while the other FF gets paid. So, the city is still only paying for the one FF on that day regardless of the actual FF in name? And if the other FF doesn't get "paid back" why does the city care, it's between the two firefighters?

    I have some ideas of why this might be problematic, but none seem to rise to the level of corruption that it seems to be made out to be? I suspect a senior FF could ask a junior FF who would not have earned the same pay rate to cover, thus a 2 year FF could be working while the 24 yr FF is paid his/her rate? Of course there could be the under the table cash for trade, but in the end, at worst (and not saying it's right) a lesser experienced member would be earning the more senior member his/her pay, but in the end, the city is still paying for the same number of azz's in seats?

    Is there a more insidious way this works that I'm missing. Here the biggest complaint is when a member makes it hard to repay a swap/trade, but again it's between the members as long as both bosses have approved it in the first place (our swaps require duty officer approval to maintain proper staffing levels and certs on any given tour.)
    Kansas City's mayor was threatened by a firefighter amid fallout over a fire department payroll report.

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