Louisiana Chief Sues Over Threats

A Louisiana fire chief who was cooperating with federal authorities looking into financial improprieties associated with the previous administration has filed suit claiming his resignation last year was actually a constructive termination.

Stanley Wajda served as the fire chief of the Hahnville Volunteer Fire Department for only six months. He resigned last July after receiving numerous threats from members he claims were loyal to the past fire chief. One of the threats stated: “Stanley. You need to leave my family alone. Or else!!!!!”

Additional threats aimed at the chief were reportedly sent to the fire company president and included surveillance photos of the chief and his family. The photos included the chief’s 3 year old child.

Chief Wajda filed suit March 2, 2015 against the fire department in 29th Judicial District Court in St. Charles Parish. The suit alleges constructive termination, which in essence means that his resignation was not a true, voluntary resignation but rather was unlawfully coerced.

The department has been under investigation by the FBI and the Louisiana Board of Ethics. It has been ordered to repay $71,412 in FEMA grant money.

Here is more on the lawsuit.

Here is more on the threats and the chief’s resignation.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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