Deputy Fire Chief's Sweet Retirement Deal

D.C. deputy fire chief takes job in Florida

By Chris Needham
|  Monday, Dec 14, 2009  |  Updated 5:14 PM EDT
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Deputy Fire Chief's Sweet Retirement Deal

If a fire breaks out in D.C., he'll be there to help in 18 hours, depending on traffic.

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At a time when plenty of people are having a hard enough time finding one job, a highly paid D.C. Fire Department employee now has two.

Kenneth Ellerbe, the city's deputy fire chief, is still on the fire department's roster, despite being the chief of a fire department in Sarasota, Fla., reports the Times.

That must be a heck of a commute!

How does a highly paid D.C. deputy fire chief get work in both D.C., and in Florida?  Easy.  He's taking leave without pay.  Lots of it.

So what kind of cockamamie arrangement allows someone to take time off from one job to work at another?  One where there's retirement money to be made.

By staying on the Department's rolls, Ellerbe will be able to begin drawing retirement at age 50 instead of waiting until 55.  That's five extra years of retirement pay at 80 percent of his salary. 

Pull out your abacus and make some calculations -- that's about $600,000 in his wallet and out of the purses of D.C. taxpayers, says the paper.

The president of the D.C. firefighters' union told the paper that they were not involved in it and that he was not aware of any other similar arrangements.

D.C. Councilman Phil Mendelson told the Times, "It doesn't sound right to me. It sends the wrong message to the others in the rank and file." 

That might be a late contender for "Understatement of the Year."

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