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Former fire chief wants $60,000 in overtime pay

By Mike Lesko | Reporter Published: January 18, 2017 12:00 AM
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SAGAMORE HILLS -- Former District 27 Fire Chief Frank Risko is threatening to sue Sagamore Hills Township and Northfield Center Township, seeking $60,000 in overtime pay, according to Sagamore Hills Township officials.

"Mr. Risko has threatened to sue the fire district, which doesn't exist, or each township individually for hours he claimed he worked but didn't document," Sagamore Hills Township Trustee Dave DePasquale said Jan. 9.

Risko confirmed to the News Leader that he had not filed the lawsuit as of Jan. 11.

Sagamore Hills Township Fiscal Officer Scott Gale said Risko is claiming 1,820 overtime hours that are not documented.

"All these hours he's claiming are undocumented," Sagamore Hills Township Fiscal Officer Scott Gale said. "He was paid more than $60,000 each year in a two-year period for a part-time job. Now, he's saying he wants another $60,000 on top of that."

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Risko said "nobody has contacted me" from Sagamore Hills Township.

"It seems odd that nobody would respond," said Risko, who departed as fire chief when the fire district disbanded Sept. 14. "I think they should go ahead and process (the claim) and stop nitpicking."

Risko said he did not want to comment further until contacting his attorney and until he heard the tape of the Jan. 9 Sagamore Hills Township trustees meeting.

Northfield Center Township Trustee Paul Buescher declined comment.

Gale said Risko "demanded over and above what he had earned."

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"We went back to his records," he said, explaining he believes any claim to overtime Risko had was resolved previously with a payment of around $1,500.

"We discovered that for the past two years, he had documented on his card that he had worked overtime. He had not been paid time and a half. He had been paid straight time," Gale said. "We sent him a check for just under $1,500. We split that between the two communities. To my knowledge, that check has still not been cashed.

"Now, he is demanding $60,000 in overtime for what he claims is 2-3 hours for each day, every day, for that three-year period," he said. "We think it only goes back two years."

Gale said Risko initially made his overtime demand in October.

"We extended the statute of limitations" regarding the closing of the fire district "so we could negotiate through the end of the year," he said. "Nothing happened. They never filed the case."

Mike Lesko: 330-541-9432

mlesko@recordpub.com

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