ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)– Firefighter pension administrators appear to be giving themselves giant paychecks this Christmas season. It came across in St. Louis City payroll as hundreds of hours of overtime.
One of the administrators got $4,857.11. City payroll records show it`s for working overtime and that three employees for the St. Louis Firemen’s Retirement System (FRS) recently worked nearly 300 hours extra.
This comes at a time when no St. Louis City salaried employee gets overtime pay. Yet according to the payroll record, three pension administrators (including the Director) got paid for $10,439.78 of O.T. in one pay period. The Chief of Staff for St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay did not hide his concern. Rainford said, “So they are at least in part responsible for the reason, this Christmas, city employees aren`t really doing any better than they have been for a number of years and yet they then turn around and give themselves these Christmas bonuses disguised as overtime. I mean a lot of people should be outraged.”
FRS’s Director is one of the three administrators who got the pay, labeled as overtime. It was a near $5,000 bump on her last paycheck alone. She told us to call her Board Chairman for an explanation. He didn’t return our calls, so we walked into the FRS headquarters to get answers.
Director Vicky Grass said, “I can`t talk on camera. I can`t talk to the media at all.”
Reporter Chris Hayes followed up, “But your name is on here as getting this 84 hours of overtime. You can`t answer whether or not you worked that overtime?”
Grass responded, “I`d appreciate it if you`d turn the camera off.”
The Director says she is under a strict edict ‘don`t talk to the media.’ A representative who did not want to be identified confirmed no one worked the overtime. Though the rep said it`s not a Christmas bonus. The rep called it vacation buyback. The City of St. Louis has not approved vacation buy back in about 5 years, but the FRS pension board does not work under the City.
The rep also claimed the firefighters pension was the highest performing pension this year, bringing in more than 20% earnings. The St. Louis Mayor’s office says, though the pension operates independently, taxpayers this year picked up $29 million in FRS shortfalls.