Las Vegas Sun

October 20, 2014

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ANSWERS: CLARK COUNTY:

Fire union official defends heavy use of sick leave in ’09

During the public comment portion of last week’s Clark County Commission meeting, firefighter Eddie Beaman spoke. He said he wanted to explain that the sick leave he took in 2009, which county negotiators cited during contract negotiations as an example of how firefighters might be abusing the sick-leave system, was legitimate.

Without identifying the person, he said he took that time to care for family members, one of whom had cancer, and that his wife had shoulder surgery.

What were his exact words?

“I think that once that list” — of firefighters who used a month of sick leave in 2009 — “was put out there by the county with the 231 people that was put on it. I mean, it kind of put a little shadow on some of the people ... out there such as myself ... I had never had any overuse of sick leave up until ’09. I think that this has got to come out, because I had never really wanted to say anything about my family or anything that happens to me, I think that’s personal with my own life ... I think that the way that the news media is portraying me as being one of these guys who uses excessive sick leave has got to be explained. In ’09, my wife, she had shoulder surgery. Along with that, we had a member of our family who was diagnosed with cancer ... ”

Sounds like a good explanation. What’s the county say?

Last week, county management said they will wait until an investigation is complete before deciding who, if anyone, deserves to be punished for abusing the benefit. Earlier, the county had outlined possible punishment for proven abusers: forfeit of 144 hours of sick time and possible demotion or firing.

Is there a way to check Beaman’s story — that he never overused sick leave until 2009?

The Sun wrote about Beaman’s sick leave a few weeks ago. Beaman is not only a member of various firefighter union committees, he is the father of Ryan Beaman, the union’s president.

County Commissioner Steve Sisolak cited Eddie Beaman’s connections to the union and his 2009 sick-leave use to dismiss the union’s contention that it had little knowledge of sick-leave overuse.

As to the question of Eddie Beaman’s use of sick leave in previous years, here’s a breakdown:

2009: 427 hours, or 18 shifts (firefighters’ shifts are 24 hours).

2008: 205 hours, or 8.5 shifts.

2007: 275 hours, or 11.5 shifts.

2006: 355 hours, or 15 shifts.

Indeed, it looks as if Beaman never reached the 18 shifts that he took off in 2009. But he did take considerable sick leave.

Is 15 shifts overuse? Perhaps that’s in the eye of the sick-leave beholder.

Sisolak has scoffed at all the sick leave used by some firefighters. Even though they call in sick often, they manage to collect a ton of overtime, he notes. Additionally, sick leave isn’t their only time off. Union members get time off for union duties. Then there’s vacation time.

In 2009, Beaman’s total time off reached 1,047 hours, or 36 percent of his total work time. That included 212 hours for union duties.

So how do Beaman’s year-to-year overtime and callback earnings stack up? (Callback is overtime plus contributions to pension funds; by contract, firefighters earn callback if they are called in to work within 12 hours of their previous shift.)

Steve Sisolak

Steve Sisolak

In 2009, Eddie Beaman earned $67,383 in callback and overtime; in 2008, he earned $61,428; in 2007, he earned $61,377; and in 2006, $65,422.

•••

Rumors are circulating in the Clark County Government Center about Sisolak possibly making a run for U.S. Senate in 2012.

Any truth to it?

Sisolak, a Democrat, admitted he has been asked by more than one person to run for embattled Republican Sen. John Ensign’s seat. He added, however, that he is “happy being a county commissioner.”

“I’m flattered people are asking,” he also said. “But I like what I’m doing right now.”

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  1. oh geeeeze, my wife had surgery so that is why I stole $10,000. that month, booo hooo
    this screams lies, theft and time for PRISON

  2. The Fire Fighters who obviously abused the sick leave policy and the Fire Union who are supporting the abusers have lost the confidence of Clark Country communities and hard working tax payers.

    The Fire Fighters who have abused the system are engaging in a conspiratorial denial and now have fashioned well crafted stories to divert attention from their actions that could lead to criminal charges after the investigation by outside authorities.

  3. His wife had surgery and another family members had cancer . So when was he sick ? Sick leave is for when he is sick . 60,000 average that he made ever year for not working . It is time to put a cap on government employee salaries .

  4. The firefighter union is just like any other union, worthless.

    Just like life the system was designed to help worker with protections now there are no protections for the taxpayers who pay into the system. They've sucked us dry.

    I for one am not sure which is worse, liberals or the unions, American workers who pay into the system has been sucked us dry. This just doesn't stop with this topic, every politician who works for us has sucked us dry. Career public servants who are worth millions should speak for itself, the salaries made doesn't equate to their net worth, the money came from somewhere and it was sucked out of us by a system we allowed. Harry Reid, Charlie Wrangle, etc"etc"etc" the list goes on and on"

    Go back in history and see what has occurred, public servants are no longer public servants, they are judge, juror, and executioners living well beyond what the working class Americans strive to make. Go into any public office and watch the minions, they're lazy people who whine and complain and pass the buck off to somebody else. They won't make a decision and they look at you like a deer in headlights and we pay for this level of service and we pay a lot. One lazy one, they don't fire, they hire another to help the lazy one catch up, they're both lazy, and they hire two more and so on and so on. The vicious cycle enabled by us the taxpayer that the unions supply. Lazy pathetic people making too much money and we allow them to get away with it. We're done.

    To put simply, public servants have no accountability and can't think outside the policy book. If the rule book doesn't tell them what to do, they're dazed and confused. Now comes the rule makers, they're just as stupid, they sit and vote on policy and rules with only one thing on their mind, how can they personally benefit from the rules they create and how much money will they make once they're voted out of office or retire from the system.

    Unions and public servants are both equally responsible for creating a human cesspool running our public servant system and you all complain and now you all wonder why we're broke. Goes to show how stupid most are today.

  5. To BornandRaised

    I've explained this many many times. Governments provide space to journalists in government buildings, because newspapers have long been recognized as members of the "Fourth Estate," whose work often conflicts with government officials in charge and their employees. I have no idea if you are a firefighter, because you are writing under the cloak of anonymity. But your post and obvious defense of firefighters and their taxpayer-funded salaries and perks is the perfect example of that potential conflict. But if you check in the city building, in the statehouse in Carson City, in the court building--if you check in government buildings in Washington, D.C., in California, in any state across the country, you find office space provided for reporters. The minuscule expense of providing of space to provide a modicum of assurance that someone is watching the government on behalf of the public hearkens back to the founders' belief that the Fourth Estate was an invaluable cog, a tool to be used to help keep government honest. If no laws were broken, if no charges are filed, we will also report that story.

  6. What, do we expect to have sick leave abusers come-out and say, "Yep, I did it...I abused sick time in a tantrum of protest"? Uh, I don't think we'll ever hear that.

  7. If during my career in the Marines I had tried to take time off claiming sick days when I wasn't seriously ill, I would have kissed my career goodbye. Sick time is for real illness, not for use as a personal convenience. That's what vacation is for and when you run out of vacation you take time off without pay.

    You don't schedule your time off so that you make overtime pay.

    In light of his track record of abusing sick time every year, I don't believe his excuses. I do believe he is just another scammer milking the tax payer for freebees and bennies. They need to cut this guy and others like him off at the knees. Cull the ranks and get rid of the scammers and slackers.

  8. Unions set the bar for fair treatment of ALL workers in the country. Those who claim otherwise or state that they are "useless" clearly have no sense of history.

  9. William - William - William, back in the days that was the case. Today the unions are worthless and produce workers who are pathetic mindless liberal trolls that have no sense of pride or workmanship. Sure they show up to work, they just don't know how to work or what they're supposed to accomplish...

    I speak from years of experience and I fire them daily. I've been told I need to go to sensitivity class and I can't speak to them that way. I've been threatened and told everything in the book one could imagine, I still sign their checks and I fire them daily and do it with a smile. I actually enjoy it these days, it's a game for me and I just sit back and watch them cry or tear up as they go away. You see, I pay that person the agreed upon wage we've agreed to pay when we signed the union agreements, they're supposed to be a journeyman and that person is supposed to know how to work the trade they've chosen.

    I agreed to their rule book, the rule book is clear. The rule book the unions wrote is the terms of the employment contract and the unions haven't lived up to their end of the deal. The unions have allowed enrolment of all types, from the dopers to the obvious stupidity and they expect me to pay them to show up for two hours just so I can weed through their list. Twenty years ago, this never would've occurred and the unions would've weeded them out for us. In today's unions, if they're under 45 years of age, they're usually mindless liberal minion trolls that cost you the taxpayer a crap load of money. We built this wasted direct cost into the cost estimates bid knowing what the unions have allowed to occur, they allow any tom, dick, or harry to pay their initiation fee and then suck the monthly dues from the worker and expect us hire their mindless trolls. WE do hire them; I just fire them quickly just as most others do as well. If you doubt it, call the local union halls and see how long their list are, if you still doubt it, go join any union which you have no knowledge in whatsoever, lie like most others do and tell them how good you are. Sit back you'd be surprised, you're a journeyman.

  10. I don't know about the rest of you, but 400 hours for me is ten weeks of work. Trying to water it down by listing it as a number of shifts (when a shift is 24 hours) is nothing more than a sleight of hand. Barring major surgery, there is also no way anyone can justify planning large blocks of sick leave in advance - then tipping off his/her buddies so they can cash in on the overtime, hoping that person returns the favor.

    There is no way to defend this. It's fraud, plain and simple.