Monday, October 14, 2013

Waukesha Fire Chief Demoted For Using Position To Force Employee To Quit After Sexual Affair Ended

Jesse Alba

Chief Alba demoted to firefighter, the Waukesha Police and Fire Commission ruled.

By H. Nelson Goodson
October 14, 2013

Waukesha, WI - On Monday, the Waukesha Police and Fire (WPF) Commission on a vote 3-1 decided to demote Fire Chief Jesse Alba to firefighter. Alba has worked for the department for 23 years.
Last July, a sexual harassment complaint was filed against Chief Alba. The commission launched an independent investigation into allegations made by Mary Jo Hoppe, a part-time Emergency Medical Services Educator who accused Alba of telling her that he was in love with her and that he couldn't work with her. He gave her two options, she could quit voluntarily or be terminated,  according Hoppe. Hoppe decided to quit on May 25.
Hoppe later told Kathy Stefan, an Administrative Assistant with the department that she didn't voluntarily wanted to quit, but was forced to quit by Alba.
The Alba investigation was launched after it was learned that Alba wanted to fired Hoppe, not for her work performance, but for a romance fling gone bad.
Alba told the WPF Commission, he didn't want to smell her perfumed or would like her to work in the same place where he worked, according to the investigation.
The investigation found that when Alba was questioned about his relationship with Hoppe, he denied he had one. It was later learned during questioning that indeed both Hoppe and Alba had consensual sex, which Alba had denied. He wanted the relationship to remain private.
The WPF Commission found enough credible evidence to show that Chief Alba was not "forthright and honest and did not tell the entire truth about his relationship with Mary Jo Hoppe during the investigation." He failed to fully cooperate with the investigation, according to the WPF Commission. 
Stefan also alleged that Chief Alba had gone to her office and had tried to intimidate her into telling him what was going on with the investigation. 
The WPF Commission determined that Chief Alba violated the public trust when he asked Hoppe to resign for personal reasons and not for work performance issues. Chief Alba admitted that he was selfish for his actions and his testimony during the investigation was "disceptive, unethical and dishonest." Alba was also found to have violated the adultery state statute, but was not used as the basis for his demotion.
The WPF Commission majority agreed not to terminate Chief Alba for his prior "commendable record with the department," but instead demoted him. They stipulated that Alba will never hold a supervisory position within the department for intimidating an employee and violating the Department's Rules of Conduct.

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