- Associated Press - Monday, February 10, 2014

CLEVELAND (AP) - A dozen Cleveland firefighters accused of illegally paying co-workers to cover their shifts have pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges.

They pleaded guilty Monday to charges of complicity to receiving unlawful compensation. The judge suspended their six-month jail sentences.

A city audit had indicated some firefighters paid colleagues instead of trading shifts as they’re allowed to do. Prosecutors argued that jeopardized public safety as firefighters missed training or their colleagues were overworked.

Defense attorneys and the firefighters’ union say that’s not true.

The firefighters have been on unpaid leave for eight months and are expected to face administrative hearings soon. The Plain Dealer reports they were advised not to comment publicly until those hearings are done.

The case against one more firefighter is pending. He remains on unpaid leave.

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