Update 8/26/11: The State Auditors Office has agreed to review this. And a potential fraud and perjury report naming these two district personnel has been filed with the Federal Way Police Department.

Does this rise to the level of perjury?

 

The intent and language of Resolution 320 is to reimburse district personnel mileage and meals (per diem) for travel requiring personnel to leave the district.

 

In reading Resolution 320, the first whereas clearly states “it is sometimes necessary for District Personnel to leave the District for periods of time while conducting District business”

 

This is a plain language statement clearly identifying travel to conduct district business which takes place outside the district.

 

The second whereas re-iterates the intent by stating “during such travel the individual will incur expenses for meals and, if required to use their own vehicle, mileage expense”

Again, plain language is used to identify that Resolution 320, by use of the phrase “during such travel” applies only to outside district travel as defined in the first whereas, unequivocally and absolutely excluding any mileage or per diem allowance inside the district.

The third whereas again uses plain language to reaffirm the intent of Resolution 320 to identify outside the district travel by use of the term “such personnel” to identify only those District Personnel that leave the District for travel to meetings, district business of educational classes as mentioned in the first whereas.

 

Resolution 320 is so clear and simple that an attorney is not needed to understand the intent. This directive applies exclusively to travel used to conduct district business out of district. There is no other interpretation of the intent of the resolution.

 

“under penalty of perjury”

 

SKF&R Form 178, is a multi-page form used by SK&F on which some district personnel submit and get reimbursement for meetings, authorized expenses and mileage. This form has at the bottom of each page a signature box.

 

Directly above the signature box on every page of Form 178 is clearly printed the following statement:

 

“CERTIFICATION:

I hereby certify under penalty of perjury that this is a true and correct claim for necessary expenses incurred by me for Departmental business serving a public purpose, and that no payment has been received by me on account thereof.”

 

Here seems to be the district interpretation

It has been revealed that on several occasions in the past two years, (actually, almost every single month) two of the South King Fire & Rescue District Personnel, in direct violation to the long standing and often voted on and approved text in Resolution 320, have repeatedly submitted Form 178 for, and have been paid, reimbursement for mileage which occurred inside the district.

 

We should actually be grateful, I guess, because these personnel, using their own reasoning, could believe that they are further entitled to get paid for every meal they eat. If for some reason they should get hungry after the meeting and stop by a restaurant before arriving back home, why not submit for per diem also?

The same logic would apply. After all, if one reads Resolution 320 and concludes that one deserves mileage for in-district travel, then one deserves per diem also.

 

 

The remedy

This information has been reported to oversight agencies and I hope it will warrant inclusion in the audit scheduled for this fall. Moreover, in this case, I believe the action to be such that more immediate action will be taken to avoid continued abuse.

We are only a week away from another Form 178 being submitted and another potential case of personnel certifying, in direct opposition to Resolution 320, and under threat of perjury as stated on Form 178,  that they deserve in-district mileage pay.

 

The real shame

This district has had two bad years in a row. Revenues are down almost 20% from their 2009 levels. The boots on the ground firefighters that dedicate their lives to saving yours recognized this and voluntarily took a wage freeze!

In January of 2011, IAFF 2024 presented a memorandum of understanding forfeiting their negotiated rights to receive any pay increase for this year, saving the department $246,621.00 for 2011.

 

Of special note are the commissioner comments. These two really stand out.

“Commissioner Fossos commended the Local for their outstanding call to duty by taking care of our citizens and by putting the needs of the department above their own needs. He thanked the Local for making the sacrifice and willingness to sit down and come to a conclusion that benefits our citizens.”

“Commissioner Rickert thanked the Local for making the concession in their wage package.  It just goes to show that as long we stay together and work together we can resolve a lot of our problems. Our leadership, the Board of Commissioners and the Local have always worked together, it makes a fine team and its better for the citizens in the community.”

Obviously these two commissioners were quite moved and deeply appreciative of the personal sacrifice your firefighters made. Commissioner Fossos commenting on the willingness of the local union to put the citizens and the needs of the department above their own, and Commissioner Rickert lauding the concessions granted as well as how well everyone works as a team.

 

 Pulled directly from the minutes of the January 6, 2011 meeting:

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING WITH IAFF LOCAL #2024

Chief Church noted that we have been working with Labor (Local 2024) the last several months on a Memorandum of Understanding.  He added how proud he is of our organization, our employees and the leadership of Local 2024 as well as our Commissioners for supporting this.  This effects our department as well as our community.  With the overwhelming support of Local 2024 we have reached an agreement which with the Boards approval it will lead to a salary concession in 2011.  Chief Church read three (3) sentences which are in the MOU; it really explains the rationale for Labors support.

1.  The Employer and the Union recognize that the citizens in the South King Fire & Rescue service area are currently dealing with a severe recession, the likes of which have not been seen since the 1930’s.

2.  The Employer and the Union value our citizen’s needs, and place a high premium on ensuring that they receive the quickest emergency response times, emergency services, and fire department programs as dictated by our Mission Statement.

3.  In recognition of the difficult economic times our citizens are facing the Union agrees to modify Article 16 of the CBA permanently conceding the 2% COLA (cost of living adjustment) in 2011 as specified in the current collective bargaining agreement.

 

This salary concession will save the department $246,621.00 for 2011; Chief Church applauds the Local for the concession.  President Herrera added that Local 2024 has a good understanding of what our citizens are going through with the recession.  He believes this is the right thing to do in these economic times.

 

Commissioner Fossos commended the Local for their outstanding call to duty by taking care of our citizens and by putting the needs of the department above their own needs. He thanked the Local for making the sacrifice and willingness to sit down and come to a conclusion that benefits our citizens.

 

Commissioner Rickert thanked the Local for making the concession in their wage package.  It just goes to show that as long we stay together and work together we can resolve a lot of our problems. Our leadership, the Board of Commissioners and the Local have always worked together, it makes a fine team and its better for the citizens in the community. Commissioner Rickert made a Motion to approve the Memorandum of Understanding.

Commissioner Freitas noted these economic times are really tough times out there, we are all in this together, hopefully this helps provide and maintain services in the community.

 

Commissioner Thompson noted this involved a lot of hard work by everyone, this isn’t easy to vote to give up funds for your family, but a lot of people are doing it and some  people aren’t receiving any raises or cost of living raises.  He added that this is a good move on everybody’s part and a win win for everybody.  Motion passed unanimously.

 

***

Complete and accurate text of the mileage and per diem resolution:

SOUTH KING FIRE & RESCUE

KING COUNTY, WASHINGTON

RESOLUTION NO. 320

A RESOLUTION of the Board of Commissioners of

South King Fire & Rescue, King County, Washington,

Establishing Meal Per Diem and Mileage Expenses

For District Personnel

WHEREAS, it is sometimes necessary for District Personnel to leave the District for periods of time while conducting District business, attending meetings or attending educational classes, and

WHEREAS, during such travel the individual will incur expenses for meals and, if required to use their own vehicle, mileage expense, and

WHEREAS, the District has an obligation to reimburse such personnel for reasonable expenses incurred while acting on behalf of the District.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that a reasonable sum to be allowed personnel for mileage and per diem allowances has been established by the District (in accordance with IRS guidelines) and is set forth on the attached schedule, the schedule is updated per the IRS recommended per diem and mileage reimbursement on a yearly basis or a special adjustment.

ADOPTED by the Board of Fire Commissioners of South King Fire & Rescue, King County, Washington, at a regular meeting this 26th day of July 2011.

 

 

***

 

 What is your interpretation?

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