No ruling on Waukesha Fire Chief Jesse Alba; hearing continues Oct. 8

Todd Ponath
Waukesha Fire Chief Jesse Alba answers questions from one of his attorneys during a hearing Wednesday at City Hall. The fire chief is accused of violating the city's anti-harassment policy.
Published on: 9/25/2013

Waukesha Fire Chief Jesse Alba’s fate within the department is still to be determined.

After more than five hours of testimony two weeks ago, Alba’s attorney, Victor E. Plantinga, was hoping to bring the woman the city says Alba sexually harassed to the stand.

However, the woman, a former part-time fire department employee, did not show up Wednesday afternoon and the hearing continued without her.

As a result, Alba, on paid administrative leave since Aug. 21, was the only person who testified at City Hall. 

Alba, accused of violating the city’s anti-harassment policy among other city rules, said at the first hearing that he asked the part-time employee to consider resigning on two occasions as a solution to the difficulties both were having in getting past the affair the two had last year.

He said he doesn’t view this as a violation because it was a personal matter.

Alba spoke Wednesday after the initial statement of charges that was filed by Mayor Jeff Scrima in July was amended to include adultery charges after he admitted to having an affair with the woman.  

The woman resigned shortly after Alba was named chief this spring. 

According to the initial investigation, the woman said she did not have a sexual relationship with Alba. The woman worked at the fire station three days a month as an emergency medical services educator.

She was reluctant to share information with the investigator, the investigation adds.

When asked after Wednesday's hearing if the woman not testifying will hurt Alba's chances, Plantinga didn't think so.

"The city is relying on statements that she's made," Plantinga said. "I don't think necessarily it will hurt us."

The attorneys for both sides will now submit their findings to the Police and Fire Commission by Oct. 2 and all parties will reconvene Oct. 8 at City Hall.

Closing statements will then be made and the PFC will then deliberate in closed session.

It's possible the PFC might not make its determination at that time, City Attorney Curt Meitz said. 

“We’d like a resolution, but we knew this would be a long process," said, Plantinga, with Alba and his wife beside him outside the Common Council Chambers.

After a ruling is made by the four-member PFC, an appeal could be made by either side, which would go to Circuit Court, Meitz said.