Alba investigation cost city almost $70,000

Todd Ponath
Former Waukesha Fire Chief Jesse Alba is seen here answering questions at one of his disciplinary hearings at City Hall. The investigation, which spanned almost five months, cost the city $67,896.
Published on: 10/23/2013

An investigation regarding policy claims against former fire chief, Jesse Alba, which just wrapped up after five months, was not cheap.

City Administrator Ed Henschel said the cost of the investigation was $67,896.

The case started after a report was sent to the city's Human Resources Department in May. It didn't conclude until last week when the Police and Fire Commission demoted Alba to the rank of firefighter for violating six rules, including the City of Waukesha's Fire Department Rules of Conduct and its Core Value Statement Section relating to integrity and ethics.

The city paid Warren P. Kraft of Murphy Desmond Lawyers to conduct an independent investigation.

Henschel said it cost the city $17,371 to hire Kraft for his services, which included interviewing Alba and other individuals and witnesses associated with the case.

After his interviews, he compiled a 14-page investigative report with his findings.

Kraft also testified at one of the disciplinary hearings.

Another significant cost for the city — $32,275 — was hiring outside counsel. Local attorney Stan Riffle was hired to represent the city at all four disciplinary hearings.

The city needed Riffle because its attorney, Curt Meitz, represented the four-member Waukesha Police and Fire Commission.

Another cost incurred was Alba's salary. The city paid Alba $18,250 from the time he was put on paid administrative leave Aug. 21 to when the PFC made its ruling Oct. 14.

After meeting for disciplinary hearings over the last several months and deliberating in closed session before making its final decision, the PFC will meet for the first time on Monday to officially name an interim fire chief.

Monday is also the deadline for Alba to decide if he will appeal the PFC's decision. Henschel said earlier this week, Alba has not filed anything and has returned to work as a firefighter.

Steve Howard, who served as the interim chief for about a year after Allen LaConte retired in early 2012, is the assistant chief and would be in line for the position.

But Henschel said the PFC plans on making a formal decision at its meeting.

Henschel said last week he wasn't sure how the PFC will select its next fire chief. It hired the Illinois-based firm, Voorhees Associates, to help conduct a national search when selecting Alba earlier this year.

There were 48 applicants before Voorhees and the PFC narrowed the field to six and then to four finalists. While the PFC ultimately chose Alba, Waukesha's Battalion Chief Joseph Hoffman was a finalist.

Using Voorhees' services cost the city $16,300.

By the Numbers


Total cost of the Jesse Alba investigation


Cost of hiring outside counsel to represent the city


Amount Alba was paid by the city after being put on administrative leave in August


Cost of hiring Warren P. Kraft to conduct an independent investigation


Cost of hiring Voorhees Associates to conduct a national search in selecting Alba just six months ago