Atlanta FFs Accused of Cheating

ATLANTA --  CBS Atlanta News is breaking an investigation into allegations of cheating within the Atlanta Fire Department's ranks. The city's Human Resources Department has now launched a formal investigation of their own, after Chief...


ATLANTA --

 

CBS Atlanta News is breaking an investigation into allegations of cheating within the Atlanta Fire Department's ranks.

The city's Human Resources Department has now launched a formal investigation of their own, after Chief Investigative Reporter Wendy Saltzman started asking the Tough Questions.

We've learned several fire fighters have stepped forward to complain to the Commissioner of Human Resources saying some of the fire department's top brass are behind this cheating scandal. They allegedly gave a copy of the lieutenants and captains promotional exam to a handful of fire fighters in advance.

Today we tracked down the fire chief to ask him about allegations of cheating in his ranks.

"I'd like for you Wendy, or whomever to bring forth any evidence of cheating. I would like to see any evidence if cheating is taking place," Interim Chief Joel Baker said.

CBS Atlanta was first to learn of these damning allegations of cheating within the fire department. Several fire fighters anonymously contacted us outraged, alleging a copy of the promotions test was provided to some fire fighters in advance. They also claimed two high ranking officials are the ones that did it.

"So are you telling me there was no cheating on that exam?" Saltzman asked. "I'm telling you, and all of the members of the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department, to my knowledge there has not been any cheating on the lieutenants and captains or any other exam given by Atlanta Fire Rescue Department," said Baker.

Baker said there have been no formal complaints lodged in his office, and so far he's doing nothing about it.

"As a matter of fact, I don't know the names of the members who have been accused of cheating. Do you know who they are?" He asked Saltzman. "Yes. I do," Saltzman replied.

Tipsters tell us they are afraid of losing their jobs. So instead of going to the Chief, they turned to the City's Human Resources Commissioner.

In a statement Commissioner Sherri Thompson Dickerson confirmed the city is engaging in a formal investigation.

Dickerson told us, "I recently had several conversations with a few of firefighters regarding their concern with the written test. I asked a member of my staff to speak with officials in AFR regarding their concerns. Based on those discussions, the city has decided to approach this matter as a formal investigation."

But Chief Baker still down plays the seriousness of that investigation.

"Members of the department have always accused other members of the department of cheating, especially those members who do not perform well on the exam," Baker continued.

CBS Atlanta has also requested specific records from Atlanta Fire Department to confirm details about this cheating scandal, but they've yet to provide us with any of those records.

If you have any information about cheating on this exam please contact Wendy at

Wendy.Saltzman@cbsatlanta.com.

 

Copyright 2010 by cbsatlanta.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.