CHICAGO
09/15/2011 04:40 pm ET Updated Nov 15, 2011

City To Fire Four Of 54 Firefighters Accused In Mileage Reimbursement Scandal

Chicago Fire Commissioner Robert Hoff moved Thursday to fire only four of the 54 firefighters accused of drastically padding their mileage expense reports, effectively rebuking city Inspector General Joe Ferguson's recommendation that all firefighters involved in the scandal be fired.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that, in addition to the four fired firefighters, six have retired. The other 43 firefighters will be suspended for a period of time ranging between 30 and 60 days.

Hoff said that the firefighters who were only suspended were spared termination because of their "otherwise clean disciplinary records." He also noted that their excessive expense reporting was condoned by their supervisors for some time.

A 60-day suspension means a loss of roughly $12,000 in income for the suspended firefighters, according to the Chicago Tribune. The alleged fraud is estimated to have cost taxpayers more than $100,000 during 2009 alone, though the padding is rumored have gone on for many years prior to that.

"I took these allegations very seriously, as Chicago Fire Department employees must operate with the full trust of Chicago residents and taxpayer," Hoff said in a statement, as reported by the Tribune. "I will not tolerate anything less, and those who violate that trust by breaking rules and engaging in prohibited conduct will be disciplined."

Reports leaked early Thursday that Hoff would fire fewer than six of the firefighters who stood accused of forging their mileage expense reports, according to CBS Chicago.

Last month, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said that, although he hoped to root out corruption in the fire department and other city entities, terminating all 54 firefighters may have cost the city more in the long run, due to the expenses of engaging in grievance processes.

Monday, Emanuel announced the suspension of all travel and mileage reimbursements for city workers pending an audit by the city's comptroller.