Cleveland Firefighter Pleads in Subbing Scandal

A Cleveland firefighter who has been at the center of the substitution abuse scandal has pled guilty to criminal charges and will serve 60 days in prison.

Firefighter Timothy Debarr was sentenced to 60 days in jail and will pay a $1,000 dollar fine for allegedly paying co-workers to substitute 4,336 hours for him, dating from January 1, 2009, through December 31, 2010.

The formal charge against Debarr was soliciting or receiving improper compensation. Ohio law prohibits an employee from paying a substitute as well as receiving undocumented compensation for substituting.

Under the plea agreement Debarr will not have to pay restitution. He is said to be cooperating with authorities who are investigating widespread abuses in substituting, sick leave and overtime. He also resigned from the department.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
  • Rocky

    I wish Alabama had that law. I knew a firefighter who was off for several months running a constuction company while he paid coworkers to work for him from the constuction company’s payroll.

    No laws against it according to the “union”.

  • Ferg

    My (very) rough math shows that he only worked about a quarter of his shifts for 2 years. How could this go on for so long without being noticed?

    Everyone has misused sick time at some point. Plenty of people have handed someone a few bucks to cover them for a couple of hours. But to sub out 75% of your shifts is excessive. This is the best job in the world. Why screw it up?

  • Rocky

    One word Ferg…GREEED!

    The guy from Bama ran his dads company . He still got city insurance coverage anad accrued sick time and he hasnt stepped foot in the station in over a year.

    Too many guys are making money from him so people tend not to notice.

  • DC

    THERE IS NO VICTIM HERE. The tax payers paid for protection and coverage from fire fighters. A firefighter of equal training and knowledge worked in his place. That substitute firefighter was NOT PAID BY ANYONE but the alledged “criminal” firefighter. ITS LEGAL HERE. NO CRIME. Botton line who cares. If my fire house needs 6 firefighters who are paid a salary to cover my area, as long as 6 are on that truck and no extra pay is given, WHO CARES. If some other firefighter wants to work for that shift with no compensation from the city, and only 200 dollars from the firefighter on the schedule, WHO CARES. Its completely LEGAL and IN OUR CONTRACT here! There is no loss or gain to the city and it only benefits the firefighters who already are putting their butts on the line for you. WAKE UP! Go after some real criminals and idiots stealing from the city!

    • CBEMT

      The taxpayers are paying for work they did not receive- receive from the person they are paying to do the work. The fact that his seat was filled is irrelevant.

      No one’s begrudging a guy to sub a few shifts so he doesn’t miss his kid’s baseball game or his anniversary. When it’s done for a a year straight, it’s nothing more than theft.

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