Buffalo firefighters are in the news over an alleged overtime scam. Mayor Byron Brown claims the scam involves a longstanding practice of buying and selling overtime shifts, coupled with healthy firefighters calling in sick to create additional overtime openings.
The buying and selling aspect of the scam came to light when firefighters publically admitted the practice was occurring, apparently oblivious to the appearance, legalities and tax consequences of the practice. Firefighters deny the sick leave abuse aspect.
At the heart of the buying and selling practice appears to be the fact that overtime compensation is calculated into an employee’s pension. As a result, employees approaching retirement have an incentive to take as much overtime as possible to boost their pension.