Pittsburgh firefighters owe city $400,000 for accidental overpayments

Pittsburgh firefighters owe city $400,000 for accidental overpayments

PITTSBURGH — Hundreds of Pittsburgh firefighters are being told to return $400,000 to the city after they were accidentally given too much in backpay.

About 242 firefighters began receiving letters from the city this week that said they had been overpaid in backpay, which was awarded during arbitration in 2019. Now, they have to give that money back.

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Firefighters Union President Ralph Sicuro said some firefighters were paid as much as $5,000 back in December.

“They assumed it was correct. They assumed it was right. They may have went out and spent the money, went out and bought something … and now they find out that they owe this money back,” said Sicuro.

City officials said the mistake happened as they transitioned to a new payroll company. They are not sure what led to the overpayments.

And this is just the latest problem plaguing the new payroll system. Some employees didn’t get overtime or deferred compensation.

Mayor Bill Peduto’s chief of staff said the city is working on the payroll problems, and he is negotiating a repayment plan with the union that won’t create financial hardships.

The union has suggested several possibilities, including selling sick time and vacation time.

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