Waukesha Fire Chief Jesse Alba has disciplinary hearing Thursday
Has been accused of violating city's anti-harassment policy
After being on paid administrative leave for the last three weeks, Waukesha Fire Chief Jesse Alba will have a disciplinary hearing before the Police and Fire Commission Thursday.
The four-member PFC will hear testimony from Stan Riffle, who serves as the City of Waukesha's attorney, and Alba's attorney, Victor E. Plantinga, beginning at 9 a.m. inside City Hall's Council Chambers.
Alba has been accused of violating the city's anti-harassment policy after allegations surfaced that the new fire chief sexually harassed a part-time female fire department employee earlier this year.
A majority vote is needed in the PFC's final ruling to be enforced and the PFC could go into closed session to deliberate matters.
When the PFC named Alba chief in April there were five members, but longtime commissioner Dan Owens resigned last month amid allegations against him and two other Department of Public Works employees that he misappropriated thousands of dollars in the sale of city scrap metal.
According to the investigation and the statement of charges that was filed against Alba in July after he refused to resign, it alleged Alba asked on two occasions for the woman to resign because he developed a romantic attraction to her.
Alba, however, through his attorney, has said that this is a personal matter and one that shouldn't impact his professional career.
A statement released by Plantinga at Alba's preliminary hearing after the PFC suspended him, said Alba and the part-time female employee engaged in a consensual sexual relationship for many months before he was appointed fire chief this spring.
"While Chief Alba regrets the decision he made in his personal life, it is unfortunate that the decision must impact Chief Alba professionally," Plantinga said. "We look forward to presenting this evidence and questioning the credibility of witnesses whom the city is relying on to bring these charges."
However, the investigation, which included 14 pages of witness interviews, including with the part-time female employee and the department's full-time female administrative assistant, who were close friends with Alba, said "none of the three indicated that there was any sexual nature to their relationship at this time."
The statement of charges said Alba was experiencing marital problems and that he confided in the two female employees and that he "fell in love" with the part-time employee and because "he couldn't get his mind off her, she needed to leave."
The part-time female employee resigned a month after Alba was named chief.
Alba started with the Waukesha Fire Department in 1986 and worked his way up the ranks over the years. As fire chief, Alba makes about $110,000 a year.
"We do not believe the city has provided accurate information pertaining to the nature of the relationship between the complainant and Chief Alba," Plantinga said.
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