Fire chief suspended over harassment claims asks to keep job
WAUKESHA - With his wife by his side, Waukesha Fire Chief Jesse Alba made an emotional plea after the Fire and Police Commission hearing. He apologized to his wife, to the community and to his fellow firefighters, but he also asked to keep his job.
“I’m going to try to do everything I can to make up for the difficulties they’ve had to endure in dealing with this situation,” Alba said.
Just weeks after Alba had been sworn in as Waukesha Fire Chief, the Mayor and the City Administrator called for him to quit.
The city claims Alba forced a fire department employee to quit because of a personal relationship, a relationship Alba describes as sexual.
“He could have put his big boy pants on and we wouldn’t be here,” attorney for the city, Stan Riffle, said.
Alba argued it was a personal matter between himself and the woman. A complaint filed with the Fire and Police Commission details Alba told the woman she had to quit because he could not do his job with her there.
“I’ve attempted to handle this very personal matter in the most truthful, professional, and sensitive manner possible,” Alba said.
The attorney for the city argued the Fire and Police Commission needs to fire Alba because he violated 14 rules.
“The only evidence you need to consider is that Chief Alba utilized his position to coerce a valued employee to quit,” Riffle said.
Alba has been on paid administrative leave since August. The Fire and Police Commission is supposed to make their decision within three days, but they’ve already asked for more time.