Waukesha fire chief will fight allegations against him
Lacey Crisp reports. Video by wtmj.comvideo
WAUKESHA - He was just appointed Waukesha Fire Chief in the end of May, and he's already being asked to step down after an independent investigation wrapped up. Chief Jesse Alba plans on fighting the allegations.
"This is strange," said Waukesha resident Cheryl Udvare.
Waukesha residents are wondering what is going on at City Hall. Waukesha City Administrator Ed Henschel won't say exactly why, but he's asking the newly appointed fire chief to step down.
"I asked for his resignation on July 3rd. I gave him a period of time to give me an answer back. When he decided not to resign, that's when we moved forward with our complaint with the police and fire commission," Henschel said.
Mayor Jeff Scrima would only say, "We are extremely saddened regarding this situation."
No one will explain exactly why they want the new fire chief to step down, except to say there was no criminal wrongdoing, but that he violated city policies before he was appointed chief.
"Believe me, I wish it would have been brought to our attention prior to the police and fire commissions decison. I'm sure they feel the same way. Unfortunately it didn't play out that way," Henschel said.
Through his attorney, Alba sent a statement explaining he looks forward to telling his side of the story.
"Mr. Alba has received the Statement of Charges. He was aware of the investigation that lead up to the filing of the Statement of Charges. Mr. Alba provided truthful information to the Investigator and City officials that discredited the witness statements that are being used against him. Regrettably, none of that information is reflected in the Investigation report or in the Statement of Charges. Mr. Alba looks forward to a hearing where he can present this evidence to the Commission.
"It smells fishy," said Waukesha resident Jeff Nobles.
Udvare said, "I'll be watching to see what's happening, because this is the first I've heard of it."
Henschel says it's not a matter of creating new policies. "We have good policies, we need to have our employees live up to those policies."
Alba first joined the department in 1986.
The Fire and Police Commission must take up the issue in no less than 10 days and no more than 30 days.