Suffolk confesses miscalculations in firefighters’ paychecks

SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The numbers aren’t adding up in Suffolk, and it has to do with the city’s first responders.

In a series of meetings this week, Suffolk Fire Chief Cedric Scott is explaining to all 283 of his firefighters and EMT’s why their paychecks weren’t always calculated correctly. 10 On Your Side stopped by one of those meetings to get some answers.

“I believe anytime you talk about pay, pay is very serious for everyone,” Scott said.

The Suffolk Fire Department says certain types of pay, like overtime and holiday, were miscalculated over a period of time, meaning Suffolk’s first responders were getting short-changed. But one crucial question remains.

“We have no way of knowing when this problem occurred,” Scott said.

So, the department says the city went back three years — which is the legal limit in this type of case — and hand-calculated what firefighters are owed, and then paid them the differential last week. The average differential was about $900 and the problem affected more than 200 personnel.

Scott told WAVY.com fire department and city officials were the ones who discovered the discrepancy and they are confident the problem has been corrected.

“I’m very confident because we’ve taken the necessary time to review our pay procedures and the calculations,” Scott said. “We’ve checked the relevant systems and made the corrections.”

If the firefighters are not satisfied with the money that the city has paid them to make up the difference, they can pursue a claim under the Fair Labor Standards Act, which is the same law that governs the minimum wage.

On Tuesday, 10 On Your Side will bring you more about how Suffolk firefighters feel about the information they’ve received at this week’s meetings.

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