S.E. Bullitt fire chief ordered to repay training pay, pension - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Commission orders S.E. Bullitt fire chief to repay training pay, pension

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Kentucky Fire Commission has ordered Southeast Bullitt Fire Chief Julius Hatfield to return training pay for allegedly falsifying training records which are tied to state aid and incentive pay. 

Commission members and area firefighters met on the matter in Lexington Tuesday afternoon and were still calculating the exact amount for Hatfield to repay.

Bruce Roberts, the Kentucky Fire Commission Division Director, says Hatfield admitted in an email that he wasn't at training and left for his board meetings numerous times.

Former volunteer firefighters told WDRB News that firefighters' names were added to the training logs even though they did not attend the training.

However, the Fire Commission says even if other names were forged, those firefighters had enough training hours to receive incentive pay of $3,100 a year -- but the chief did not.

The Education and Eligibility committee, which is comprised of Fire Commission board members and firefighters, voted that Hatfield has to pay back the $3,100 a year plus pension which is estimated at a total of $4,000 a year dating back to 2008 -- possibly longer.

"We'll write them a letter and give them a certain time to pay it," said Bruce Roberts, division director of the Kentucky Fire Commission. "If they don't repay it, then we stop at that time, we move forward with the authority of the attorney -- whatever the attorney tells us to do."

So far, Hatfield has denied WDRB News requests for an interview.

The Fire Commission says training is important for safety, but added that this incident serves as a warning to other departments that training logs need to be accurate.

The Education and Eligibility Committee's recommendation will now go to the full Fire Commission Board for approval next week.

The Fire Commission is expected to send a letter to Hatfield ordering that the money needs to be repaid in 30 to 60 days. It says if the money is not repaid back, then that will hold up other firefighters in the department from getting their incentive pay.

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