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Wayne Township fire chief, administration can no longer receive overtime pay under new ordinance

Department faced scrutiny for unusual practice
Wayne Township Fire Headquarters
Posted at 4:51 PM, Sep 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-20 16:51:32-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The Wayne Township Fire Department is making changes to how its higher-ups are compensated following a WRTV investigation that raised questions about the agency’s administration receiving overtime.

On Thursday, the Wayne Township Board voted to approve an ordinance that says salaried fire department employees can no longer receive overtime—including the fire chief, assistant chief, division chief, and executive administrator.

Salaried fire department employees will be able to earn flex time-off, but they can’t get paid for it, according to the ordinance.

Hourly firefighters will continue to be eligible for overtime, per the policy.

The approval of this ordinance comes in response to a WRTV Investigates that aired in June, in which we uncovered fire administration received overtime pay on top of their six-figure salaries.

Former fire chief Randy Adams and his two deputy chiefs racked up more than 1,358 hours in overtime in 2019 and 2020, totaling $113,290.

Adams retired on May 21, 2021, and Mike Lang now serves as fire chief and vowed to make changes to the department’s payroll system.

PREVIOUS | New fire chief pledges changes to payroll

In 2020, Adams got paid $190,345 including $41,860 in overtime— 80% of which was not related to covering shifts for firefighters.

Records obtained by WRTV Investigates showed Adams and his administration charged taxpayers overtime for travel to inspect fire trucks and to attend meetings at the administration building.

Randy Adams claimed 49 hours of overtime for a trip to South Dakota, records show.

WRTV: “Did that include sleeping?”
Adams: “Anytime we were gone, yes.”
WRTV: “So, you counted sleeping, eating, driving from the time you left to the time you got back?”
Adams: “If it was outside normal business hours.”
WRTV: “So you weren’t counting 8 am to 4 while you were there, but everything else you were counting?”
Adams: “Yes.”
WRTV: “Some taxpayers might say why charge overtime to go look at fire trucks?
Adams: “It's outside the normal working hours. Everyone should be fairly compensated. Everyone who went on the trip was fairly compensated.”
WRTV: “Some will say, you're already making six figures. Why do you need to charge overtime on top of that?”
Adams: “It's the way the system is set up right now. We aren't salary-exempt. We are eligible to get the overtime."

The fire department administration has also taken heat over compensation they received through a nonprofit.

RELATED | Wayne Township fire chief, trustee face questions over nonprofit compensation

Some Democrats have called for the fire chief and township trustee, Chuck Jones, to resign.

However, Jones told the board Thursday night he does not plan to step down.

Trustee Chuck Jones is up for reelection in 2022.

RELATED | Democrats ask Wayne Township trustee to step down

On Thursday night, the elected township board members voted to not take a raise next year and asked the trustee to do the same, and Jones agreed.

Township board members currently make $10,459 and the trustee’s salary is $103,927.

The board did not take any official action Thursday, as the meeting was a public hearing for the 2022 budget, including fire administration raises for 2022.

The meeting to adopt the budget is scheduled for October 14 at 6 pm.