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 45 years of fire service experience and 35 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, 4th ed. 2022) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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