Fire Department Fails To Pay Whistleblower
In early June, the Office of the Attorney General dropped the charges against D.C. Fire Department whistleblower Gerald Pennington. Pennington has spoken out against mismanagement within the department and faulty fire investigations. Pennington and his partner Greg Bowyer were the subject of a Washington City Paper profile.
Pennington and Bowyer had been respected fire investigators until they were removed from their unit. After speaking out, they were transferred to to the Community Services Unit. And Pennington was charged with falsifying his credentials as a proper fire investigator.
For a time, Pennington was tasked with handing out snacks to firefighters. After he was cleared of the credentials charge, the Fire Department did not transfer him back to the investigations unit. Instead, they put him in Engine Company 23. He hadn't fought fires since July 2001.
Now, the department has added a new wrinkle to Pennington's punishment.
The department failed to pay him for his last two weeks of work. "Today, I did not get paid," Pennington says. "No one knows what happened."
Pennington says the payroll system is idiot proof. Time and attendance is put into a computer system which is then sent on to payroll. Normally, he gets a check stub in the mail the day before his check is deposited into his bank account. Yesterday, he says he did not get his check stub.
"No check stub and no money in my account," Pennington says. "I'm still awaiting some type of resolution. They don't know when they are going to fix it. They just said they are working on it."
*photo of Fire Chief Dennis Rubin courtesy of DC.Gov.