Gilbert firefighters under investigation, accused of double-dipping on taxpayer dime

GILBERT, AZ - The ABC15 Investigators have learned at least two Gilbert firefighters are under internal investigation to determine if they double-dipped on the taxpayers’ dime by misusing leave time to work second jobs at another fire department.

Battalion Chief David Rodriguez and firefighter Daniel Skaggs have been under investigation since December, town officials said. Rodriguez has also been placed on administrative leave.

A Gilbert spokesperson couldn’t confirm if other firefighters are also the subject of the investigation but said additional members of the department have been interviewed.

Town officials declined to comment further. Both firefighters also turned down interview requests.

Rodriguez and Skaggs are accused of using sick and/or leave time at Gilbert but then working shifts for the Forest Lakes Fire, a small department located about 40 miles east of Payson. Rodriguez is also the chief for Forest Lakes.

The ABC15 Investigators filed a public records request with both the Forest Lakes and Gilbert fire departments three weeks ago. We asked for personnel files, department policies and timecards dating back five years.

Gilbert refused to turn over the firefighters’ timecards, citing rules that allow them to withhold certain records that are a part of internal investigations. Forest Lakes provided all of the records.

The records provided to ABC15 show:

  • In 2013, Skaggs was paid $59,538 by the Town of Gilbert. He made at least an extra $10,000 working more than 40 shifts at Forest Lakes. Skaggs has worked for Gilbert Fire since 2007 and Forest Lakes since 2009.
  • In 2013, Rodriguez was paid $111,836 by the Town of Gilbert. As chief for Forest Lakes Fire, a position he’s held since 2008, Rodriguez earns another $75,000 a year, according to his employment contract.

Gilbert hired Investigative Research, Inc., an outside firm, to conduct the investigation.

If the investigator determines that firefighters misused leave time to work a second job, it would violate a town policy that states employees “cannot perform outside work on Gilbert time.”  

A town attorney said the investigation should be completed in two or three weeks.

Contact ABC15 Investigator Dave Biscobing at dbiscobing@abc15.com .

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