Lawsuit claims Saginaw didn't want a female fire chief - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Lawsuit claims Saginaw didn't want a female fire chief

Posted: Updated:
SAGINAW (WJRT) -

(02/14/14) - A female member of the Saginaw fire department is suing the city after she was passed over for the acting fire chief's job.

Her attorney says she did that job for a year before it was given to a man.

Ona Lee Aguilar's attorney isn't just critical of the city - he also says the fire department's union didn't want a woman getting the acting chief's job.

"The city didn't want a female fire chief, even though she was completely qualified," said attorney Victor Mastromarco, Jr.

Mastromarco represents Aguilar, who is currently the training and safety officer for the Saginaw Fire Department. Mastromarco says Aguilar became interim chief in February 2012 when Darnell Earley was Saginaw's city manager, and performed those duties until August 2013, when Earley offered her the position of acting fire chief. The city won't confirm this timeline.

Aguilar says Earley planned to announce the appointment at the Aug. 19 city council meeting, but Mastromarco says two days after the offer to Aguilar, Tom Raines, the president of Fire Fighters Local 102, told her she could no longer be a member of the union if she took the job. Mastromarco says Aguilar still wanted the promotion, but city and union officials then agreed to a resolution basing the appointment solely on rank and seniority. Aguilar says that's when a city official told her the announcement at city council was off. Two weeks later, Earley appointed Chris Van Loo as acting chief. The new resolution allows Van Loo to remain in the union while he serves as acting fire chief.

"I'm sure that they talked together and decided, 'How are we going to deal with this, how are we going to explain why we gave the job to the man, instead of the woman, that was qualified and was actually doing the job for a year?" Mastromarco, Jr. said.

Again, the city will not comment on the suit, but in court filings, the lawsuit is described as frivolous. In those documents, the city also argues that Aguilar was never offered the acting chief position and that she wanted to remain in the union, which eliminated her from future consideration for the job. Mastromarco denies those claims, saying this was gender discrimination.

"That's discrimination, it's still there, it's going on all the time," he says.

Aguilar's lawsuit asks for at least $25,000 in economic and non-economic losses.

The firefighters union is not named in the suit.

Union president Tom Raines says he will let it play out in court and does not want to comment.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Teen involved in shooting outside Bay County Juvenile Center had troubled past

    Teen involved in shooting outside Bay County Juvenile Center had troubled past

    Friday, August 29 2014 6:20 PM EDT2014-08-29 22:20:06 GMT
    We are learning new details about the teenager who was involved in Thursday's shooting outside a Bay County juvenile home.
    We are learning new details about the teenager who was involved in Thursday's shooting outside a Bay County juvenile home.
  • One person killed, home destroyed in Shiawassee County fire

    One person killed, home destroyed in Shiawassee County fire

    Saturday, August 30 2014 10:08 PM EDT2014-08-31 02:08:47 GMT
    (08/30/14) - A home was destroyed and one person was killed in a fire in Shiawasee County Saturday afternoon.The fire was in the 11000 block of Prior Road in Vernon Township. The fire chief is not releasing whether the person who died is a man or woman, however we do know that they lived in the home. Several departments were called in to help put out the fire. ABC12 will continue to post updates to this story as they become available.
    (08/30/14) - A home was destroyed and one person was killed in a fire in Shiawasee County Saturday afternoon.The fire was in the 11000 block of Prior Road in Vernon Township. The fire chief is not releasing whether the person who died is a man or woman, however we do know that they lived in the home. Several departments were called in to help put out the fire. ABC12 will continue to post updates to this story as they become available.
  • Find out how to get your child a free or discounted hair cut for back to school

    Find out how to get your child a free or discounted hair cut for back to school

    Saturday, August 30 2014 8:31 PM EDT2014-08-31 00:31:34 GMT
    (08/30/14) - In Burton a salon is making sure students look their best on the first day of class on Tuesday.Hair 101 Salon is planning to give away free and affordable hair care for boys and girls on Monday. Kids ages 7-to-17 can take advantage of the offer. Boys will get free basic hair cuts. Girls will be able to get discounted styles with free trims, and hydration treatments.Each student will leave with a snack bag and be entered into a raffle for a free book bag packed with school supplie...
    (08/30/14) - In Burton a salon is making sure students look their best on the first day of class on Tuesday.Hair 101 Salon is planning to give away free and affordable hair care for boys and girls on Monday. Kids ages 7-to-17 can take advantage of the offer. Boys will get free basic hair cuts. Girls will be able to get discounted styles with free trims, and hydration treatments.Each student will leave with a snack bag and be entered into a raffle for a free book bag packed with school supplie...
Powered by WorldNow

abc12.com

ABC12 Main Station
810-233-3130

Mailing Address:
2302 Lapeer Road
Flint, Michigan 48503

Powered by 

WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WJRT. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.