Howard again named interim Waukesha fire chief
Just recently served same position for about a year
Steve Howard has returned to the Waukesha interim fire chief position.
The Police and Fire Commission made its unanimous decision at a Monday meeting at the Fire Department's Station 1.
It's a position Howard held for about a year from early 2012 to spring 2013 after former fire chief Allen LaConte retired to the time recently-demoted fire chief Jesse Alba was named chief in April.
Howard has served as the city's assistant chief for the last 12 years and has been with the department for 25 years.
An interim chief was needed since the PFC demoted Alba to the rank of firefighter two weeks ago.
Following a lengthy investigation after the city accused Alba of violating the city's anti-harassment policy, the PFC concluded he violated multiple department rules relating to code of conduct.
While the PFC determined Alba did not violate the city's anti-harassment policy, it concluded that he was unfit for a supervisory role after asking a part-time female Fire Department employee to consider resigning as a solution in getting past the affair the two had last year.
The woman, an emergency medical services educator, has since resigned.
"As chief of the Fire Department, the findings clearly show that Chief Alba's conduct lacked strong leadership capabilities and prudent decision making abilities which were repeatedly reflected in his poor judgment regarding matters that affected and became part of the workplace," stated the PFC's findings, which were released Oct. 14. "Self-discipline, professionalism and treating others with dignity are all characteristics that are imperative for one holding a supervisory position.
"Chief Alba's conduct falls far short of those qualities expected of a chief and supervisor."
Although the PFC has named an interim chief, Alba, who has returned to work as a firefighter, has filed an appeal with the Waukesha County Circuit Court because he said there wasn't 'just cause' in his demotion.
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