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Profanity Laced Lawsuit Filed by Downey Fire Union Targets Mayor, Council, Chief 

By Tammye McDuff 

The continuing battle between Downey City officials and members of a labor union representing Downey Fire Fighters has reached a new boiling point when details of a new profanity-laced lawsuit was brought into the public eye for the first time. 

The suit was filed in United States Central District Court by the law firm of Brown, White and Newhouse on August 1.  In the filing, a jury trial has been requested. 

At the regular Downey City Council meeting August 12, councilmembers confirmed they had received notice of the lawsuit filed by the Downey Firemen’s Association.  Fourteen DFA members claim they have been “targets” and are “alleging retaliation” took place against them by city officials. 

The lawsuit comes on the heels of City voters’ rejection in June of an Association proposed charter amendment that sought to eliminate the voters’ right to approve the contracting out of public safety services.   

The lawsuit also states that officials on both sides engaged in several profanity laced conversations, with “F-Bombs” being repeatedly mentioned. 

Downey Councilmember Mario A. Guerra blasted the lawsuit in an interview with HMG-CN. 

“This is another attempt to mislead and deceive Downey residents in what has become another abuse of the legal system.  I was appalled to read the false statements against me, our council and the attempt to slander my name and character,” Guerra said. 

“I look forward to Downey moving past this distraction and continuing on with our positive growth,” Guerra said. 

Guerra also pointed to the results of a June Primary Election when 83% of the voters supported, in his words, “to keep the voice in the city and keep the voice of what we want as a Police and Fire in the city.”  

“The City Council has continued to reach out to put the ‘toothpaste back in the tube’ for the Downey Firemen’s Association, stretch forth an olive branch and agree to what is best for Downey residents. The DFA has continued to reject any solution that the Council has suggested,” Guerra continued.  

Guerra, who was Mayor this past year, stated that he believes this to be politically motivated. 

“Many of these items are things that just didn’t happen. I want to go on record on some of these things” Guerra then proceeds to mention all the individuals that are suing the city of Downey stating ‘these are disturbing allegations.” 

Statements in the lawsuit say that salary raises were being withheld, and the City Council not only was being unethical but illegal in conducting business with then Fire Chief Lonnie Croom.  

Guerra says there are allegations made against the Council and Staff in the lawsuit, but many refer to him specifically.  

One portion of the lawsuit states that City Manager Livas went to the Fire union and told them to ‘take Mario Guerra out’ because Livas had been refused a raise, and to look for anything illegal Guerra had done and subpoena his records. 

According to Guerra the lawsuit states that the Downey Firemen’s Association “supports Mayor-Pro Tem Luis Marquez for Downey District 1” and,  “Marquez and City Manager Livas went to the union three times to ‘take Guerra out.” 

“The Firemen’s Association continues to use the litigation process to politicize its disagreement with former Chief Croom’s objective and candid assessment to the Council regarding the Association’s proposal to contract out fire services to the County,” stated Mayor Fernando Vasquez.   

Mayor Vasquez and members of the Council are committed to ensuring that this lawsuit will not detract from the quality of service provided to City residents. 

In February, HMG-CN published an article regarding the very controversial vote regarding Police Safety, Fire Department and Paramedic Protection.   

HMG-CN reported that the Downey City Council had outsourced emergency medical transport services and city jail operations to private companies.  

Charter Amendment 14 was written to restore the voting public the right to choose, by majority vote, which public or private entity would best provide cost effective and efficient fire and police services to Downey.  

 In a press release dated March 11, 2014, the City moved to dismiss a meritless Strategic Lawsuit against Public Participation [SLAPP]; which charged the Downey Fire Association of trying to mislead the public. This was to ensure that Downey citizens fully understood the consequences of their vote for Charter Amendment 14 on the June 3, 2014 ballot. 

 

 

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