It's a situation the city of Fort Worth wishes it weren't in.
"It's unfortunate," said Assistant City Manager Susan Alanis. "We feel like we’ve put these employees in a difficult position, we’ve been saying that since the beginning."
Last year, Alanis said auditors discovered that between 2013 and 2015, the city had overpaid nine retired firefighters for their unused vacation and sick time. The overpayments totaled about $245,000.
"It was human error at the end of the day," Alanis said. "We had implemented a new payroll system in 2011."
But despite offering flexible repayment plans, Alanis said two of the firefighters have refused to pay the money back. So Tuesday, city council will vote on taking legal action against those retirees to reclaim the funds.
"I can only imagine what that phone call or what that letter would ... feel to receive that phone call or letter," said Michael Glynn, president of the Fort Worth Firefighters Association.
He said the situation is frustrating.
"We’re out fighting fires, working car accidents, saving people from heart attacks, and we’re doing our best to serve the citizens of Fort Worth," he said.
We reached out to both of the firefighters in question. We weren't able to reach one, and the other declined to comment at the advice of his attorney.
Alanis said they're disappointed it's come to this, but it's the city's legal obligation to correct the error. They're only asking for 75 percent of the money back because they acknowledge taxes have already been paid on the money.
"I hope we reach an amicable solution and don’t end up in court, but certainly that’s where we’re headed if we don’t reach an agreement," Alanis said.
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