Retired Texas Firefighter Sued For Sick and Vacation Overpayment

A retired Fort Worth firefighter has been sued by the city based on claims he was overpaid $63,737 when he left four years ago.

Fernando Gonzalez retired in 2013 and received a payment for unused sick and vacation time totaling $223,079. According to the City of Fort Worth, Gonzalez was actually owed $159,342. The city attributes the overpayment to a new payroll computer system coupled with human error.

A 2016 audit disclosed that 20 Fort Worth employees received a sick/vacation overpayment between 2013 and 2015, including 9 firefighters. The city contacted the affected employees and except for one who died, another who was in jail, and Gonzalez, all agreed to repay the overpayment. According to the Star Telegram, the city allowed the retirees to repay 75% of the amount owed to cover the costs of taxes that were withheld.

The suit against Gonzalez was filed June 30, 2017 in Tarrant County Court.

More on the story.

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.
x

Check Also

Podcast Episode 24: Pink Collar Theft In The Fire Service

In this episode, Curt discusses a little known problem, Pink Collar Theft, with Kelly Paxton. Kelly runs the web site pinkcollarfraud.com and is helping to debunk the myths that many of us have about fire service embezzlement.

Detroit Firefighter Fired Over Watermelon Suing For Discrimination

The Detroit firefighter who was fired last October because he brought a watermelon as a gift to African American firefighters at his new firehouse, has filed suit alleging reverse discrimination. Robert Pattison filed suit yesterday naming Fire Commissioner Eric Jones, Deputy Commissioner Charles Simms, and Chief of Training Alfie Green.