South Carolina Fire Chief’s Overtime Prompts State Police Investigation

A South Carolina fire chief who resigned two weeks ago, is now facing a state police investigation into his claiming $42,000 worth of overtime since July of 2022. David Watson resigned as fire chief for the Town of Wagener on October 19, 2023 after being confronted with the allegations by Mayor Michael Miller and Mayor Pro Tem George Smith.

According to a police report submitted by Wagener Police Chief Michael A. Goodwin, Chief Watson claimed between 20 and 26 hours of overtime each week between July, 2022 and October 11, 2023. Chief Goodwin reported that the case was being turned over to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) for further investigation.

Attached is a copy of the police report. Also here is a recent new video on the situation. A more recent video is available at this link, but is not available for embedding at the moment. When it is it will be added here.

By the way, is it possible that a fire chief could be eligible for overtime under the FLSA? Bill Maccarone will be addressing that issue on November 8, 2023. Join us at 1PM.

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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