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Former fire chief expected to pay taxpayers $8,000

By on July 29, 2022 0

INDIANAPOLIS — The former Wayne Township fire chief is expected to reimburse $8,156.74 for firefighter travel and conference expenses, state auditors said in two audits released Friday afternoon.

The Indiana State Board of Accounts has released audits for the 2018-2019 and 2020 periods following a year-long investigation by WRTV Investigates that raised questions about the state’s compensation. administration of the Township of Wayne Fire Department.

Auditors say former fire chief Randy Adams, who served as chief from January 2019 to May 2021, should repay $8,156.74 because they could not find vouchers for travel expenses and conference, including the “proper purpose” of the trip.

The SBOA forwarded its findings to the Marion County District Attorney’s Office, which could file criminal charges, and to the Indiana Attorney General’s Office, which could file civil suits.

On Friday, WRTV Investigates contacted Adams’ attorney to comment on the newly released audit and we are still awaiting a response.

Adams, former Wayne Township administrator Chuck Jones, former fire chief Mike Lang and mechanic James Parham were all sentenced last month after pleading guilty to misdemeanor conflict of interest charges.

PREVIOUS | Wayne Twp firefighters plead guilty

As WRTV reported in 2021, township officials received compensation through the nonprofit, which is funded by donations and taxpayer money.

Adams, Jones and Lang must each repay $31,939 in restitution and mechanic James Parham must pay $1,200 in restitution for a total of $97,017.

Audits released Friday, totaling 70 pages, also question why the fire chief, deputy chiefs and executive administrator received a total of $132,241 in questionable overtime expenses in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Auditors said the overtime did not comply with firefighter policies, the union contract and Fair Labor Standard Act guidelines.

WRTV Investigates raised questions about overtime for members of the fire administration in June 2021.

PREVIOUS | Wayne Township Fire Department administrators take heat from overtime pay

Last year, WRTV Investigates found Randy Adams and his two deputy chiefs racked up more than 1,358 overtime hours in 2019 and 2020, totaling $113,290.

Listeners also questioned why some fire administration employees were being paid overtime while on the road, an issue WRTV Investigates raised in 2021.

Randy Adams claimed 49 overtime for a March 1st until March 3rd trip to South Dakota, records show.

WRTV: “Did that include sleeping?”

Adam: “Every time we were gone, yes.

WRTV: “So, did you plan on sleeping, eating, driving from the time you left until the time you returned?”

Adam: “If it was outside normal business hours.”

WRTV: “So you weren’t counting 8am to 4am when you were there, but you were counting everything else?”

Adam: “Yes.”

WRTV: “Some taxpayers might say why charge overtime to go see the fire trucks?

Adam: “It’s outside normal working hours. Everyone should be fairly compensated. Everyone who made the trip was fairly compensated.

WRTV: “Some will say you are already earning six figures. Why do you need to charge overtime on top of that? »

Adam: “That’s the way the system is set up right now. We are not exempt from salary. We are eligible for overtime.”

WRTV Investigates asked the Indiana State Board of Accounts why it did not ask the Wayne Township Fire Department or its former officers to reimburse questionable overtime.

“The audit report is shared with both the prosecutor and the attorney general, and either can sue for any comments in the report that they deem unlawful from a civil or criminal perspective. “, State Examiner Paul Joyce told the state. Accounts Council.

Audits released Friday also criticized firefighters’ use of “collateral pay,” which WRTV says is an amount of money in the budget, $344,408 in 2020, that the fire chief can allocate to employees. firefighters.

The SBOA said collateral pay was supposed to be provided for earning firing positions below battalion rank, but the fire chief, deputy chief, and executive administrator received collateral pay even though they are higher. to the rank of battalion commander.

WRTV Investigates contacted Wayne Township Administrator Jeb Bardon and a spokesperson for the Wayne Township Fire Department.

You can read the fire department’s response to the audit in the last pages of each audit, here and here.

The fire department notes that it has made many changes to its policies and procedures regarding travel policies, overtime and internal controls.

In September 2021, Wayne Township Council voted to approve an ordinance that states that salaried fire department employees can no longer receive overtime, including the fire chief, deputy chief, chief of division and the executive administrator.

The State Board of Accounts released a separate, scathing audit last month that said the former trustee and firefighters should reimburse taxpayers $351,505.

PREVIOUS | State auditors say former Wayne Township executives owe $351,000

Former Wayne Township administrator Chuck Jones, former fire chief Mike Lang, former fire chief Randy Adams and mechanic James Parham will not serve any jail time in the criminal case.

Their criminal charge can be cleared after a year if they return the money to taxpayers.