A Dispute Between La Verne and Its Firefighters is Getting Uglier By the Day

The City of La Verne is grappling with a pair of lawsuits brought by members of its fire department that have exposed deep divisions and opened the struggling city up to further financial hardship.

On December 4, the La Verne Firefighters’ Association, Local 3624 filed suit against the city alleging that Fire Chief Peter Jankowski had launched a campaign of retaliation against union members for supporting the mayor’s political opponent in 2017. Seven months earlier, they issued a vote of no confidence in the chief in a 26-1 vote.

As part of the December lawsuit, amended two months later, the union is asking for over $1 million in damages for infliction of emotional distress, anxiety, and humiliation of its members.

And that’s not all.

On February 27, another lawsuit came. Nearly two dozen members of the department sued the city for violation of fair labor laws for allegedly forcing them to work overtime without proper compensation.

The city denies the allegations.

“We deny any wrongdoing and we stand by the answers we have filed,” Scott Grossberg said. “We’ve done our due diligence.”

The city says it cannot say more due to ongoing litigation, instead directing the public to court documents available on the city’s website

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