Fla. FF Cheats on Test Gets Promoted

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ORLANDO, Fla. --

 

An Orlando firefighter caught cheating on a promotion test just got a better job as a supervisor. WFTV covered the cheating scandal for several months, but none of the firefighters involved lost their jobs over it.

Two years ago, Orlando Assistant Fire Chief Rudy Johnson said he didn't cheat after listening in on radio transmissions for advance information on the test.

“It was broadcast over open air,” Johnson said.

He said his managers told him to lie.

“If we just tell them we didn't violate rules or break any rules, it's over. They were more concerned about the image of the fire department than the truth,” he said.

Johnson was suspended and demoted one rank. He was assigned to the public information office.

But this week, new Orlando Fire Chief John Miller put Johnson in charge of a whole shift, more than 100 firefighters. WFTV was tipped off by firefighters who don't think its right.

“Are there no other assistant chiefs who didn't cheat who would be qualified to be the supervisor of an entire shift?” WFTV Kathi Belich asked.

“I have to develop all my personnel,” Miller replied.

Johnson is being developed for an even higher promotion.

“He has the credentials, the same as all the other assistant chiefs,” Miller said.

He wouldn't say whether giving Johnson so much responsibility is fair, but Orlando resident David Burley said he'd probably be fired if he did what Johnson did.

“It causes kind of a morale issue. So maybe supervisor wasn't the best job for him,” Burley said.

There was a criminal investigation, but no charges resulted from the cheating.

Some firefighters say, if something goes wrong on Johnson's watch, it could result in lawsuits against the city. WFTV was told the case has already cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars.

 

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