Waukesha Fire Chief Jesse Alba will not learn his fate until at least Sept. 25 after the Waukesha Police and Fire Commission adjourned his disciplinary hearing while Alba attempts to subpoena a witness.
City leaders are attempting to remove Alba for office, claiming he asked a female subordinate to resign from the Waukesha Fire Department because he was in love with her. Alba is claiming he had a personal, extra-marital affair with the woman while he wasn’t working. Alba is attempting to have the woman testify on his behalf before the PFC.
The complaint filed against the fire chief by Waukesha Mayor Jeff Scrima alleges that the fire chief violated several policies in the city, including the anti-harassment policy, the core values statement, administrative statement and the Waukesha Fire Department’s rules of conduct. Alba is attempting to refute the city’s claims of sexual harassment by arguing that he had a consensual physical relationship with the female subordinate that was separate from work.
The PFC took about five hours of testimony on Thursday as the independent governing body determines if Alba should be terminated, which is what city leaders are seeking.
Even if Alba proves that he had a consensual affair, that may not be enough for city leaders. Alba admitted on stand that he asked the woman to consider resigning from the Waukesha Fire Department months after they concluded their affair in order to eliminate the “torture” he said they were both feeling.
“I thought I was in love,” said Alba, adding that the woman felt the same way. However, they ended their affair in August 2012 because of its damage to each of their already rocky marriages, the fire chief said.
In the months that followed, the fire chief testified, it was difficult to be around each other at the fire department. City leaders claim he attempted to force the woman to resign because he wasn’t able to concentrate on work and the fire chief promotional process.
When asked why Alba asked the woman to resign instead of removing himself from the situation, Alba responded that it was a part time job for the woman.
“I happened to know she had a lot of other things in her life.” Alba said. “Our organization was the lowest paying job. … All I did is that I asked her if she would consider resigning.”
Meanwhile, Alba maintained during Thursday’s hearing that he did not reveal the relationship during his fire chief interviews, despite being asked about mistakes, skeletons in his closet or things that may be embarrassing to the PFC, because his relationship was a personal one.
“This relationship was not part of my professional career,” Alba told the PFC.
Alba, who was promoted to Waukesha fire chief by the PFC in May, remains on paid administrative leave until the disciplinary hearings are concluded.