It’s the first board meeting since newly hired Assistant Fire Chief Cary Spiegel took office. Spiegel is a former Monarch Deputy Chief. His return to the district is controversial, since he was fired in 2011, along with three other Monarch officials, following a gender discrimination lawsuit.
At Thursday’s board meeting, the firefighters’ union presented the board with a vote of no confidence in this recent hire. The letter includes a request to remove Spiegel, thus removing the threat of a hostile work environment.
However, two out of the three board members who chose to hire Spiegel, along with half a dozen citizens who spoke at this meeting, shared a different narrative. By supporting Spiegel in his new role, they say they are not refuting the court findings. Two of the plaintiffs were awarded damages, but Spiegel was not named in the lawsuit; only the district was. They maintain Spiegel’s innocence, and say he was the best candidate for the job. Some, including Monarch Board President Robin Harris, stated that these four officers were fired in 2011, not for discrimination, but because they wouldn’t take union orders.
Spiegel started his new job on Monday. Fox 2 spoke with firefighters who said Spiegel’s first week on the job has been awkward, especially since several of those who now work under him testified against him during the lawsuit.