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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Is Fire Chief Double Dipping on Taxpayers' Dime?

Fire Chief Paul DeArmond
A local fire chief is accused of double dipping on your dime. He's being paid more than a hundred thousand dollars a year by the fire district but he also makes big bucks working for the Lee County School Board. Four in your Corner investigator Mike Mason went straight to the chief today for answers.

Mike Mason asked DeArmond, “So you don't think that you're double dipping?” Chief DeArmond replied, “You know, every fireman here has a side job."

In addition to being paid $122,000 a year as the Tice fire chief, Paul DeArmond makes 21 dollars an hour training firefighters at the Fort Myers fire academy, which is run by the Lee County school board. But some wonder how DeArmond can work two demanding jobs when he's required to work a 40 hour week as fire chief. DeArmond tells Fox 4 he works, "Many more hours than 40 hours."
That may seem impossible to some because the first week in November of 2010 DeArmond worked 50 hours training firefighters, in week two he worked 61 and a half hours and 29 and a half hours the third week and the fourth week he worked 12 and a half hours at the academy. That means he worked 153 hours that month at his second job training firefighters. And there are many other months where DeArmond trained for long hours. So how could the chief also work 40 hours a week at the fire district? DeAarmond explains, "When you look at that yes it does look like I wasn't here but I have all my documentation where it shows every day when I wasn't here or I was at the academy, there was some way I was taking time off."
DeArmond showed us a personal spreadsheet on his computer where he says he keeps track of the hours he works at the fire station. Mike Mason asked him, “How can you work 50 hours a week or 61 and a half hours a week for the school district and still work 40 hours a week here?” DeArmond replied, “Because I have vacation sir.” The chief says he's given 240 hours a year for vacation time and as of today he has accrued 590 hours.

He says he uses that time to work at the academy. DeArmond is required to write down the hours he works at the fire academy by signing a timesheet.That sheet is supposed to be approved by the academy's director but we found the director never even signed any of them. DeArmond says that has nothing to do with him, "I couldn't tell you sir all I do is turn them in I sign them and that's all I know sir."

So it appears the academy director is not even reviewing timesheets and Fox 4 will follow up on that.
And just to be clear, DeArmond is *not* required to keep track of the hours he works at the fire station but says he always logs them on his computer anyway.
To view the Fox 4 report click here:

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