Battalion chief comes under fire

A San Francisco battalion chief could be feeling the heat for flouting her Fire Department credentials while campaigning for a Peninsula city political position last November.

During a competitive race for a spot on the Millbrae City Council, Lorrie Kalos-Gunn posted photographs of herself in her uniform on pamphlets and listed her department-issued cell phone on her campaign fliers — political acts that did not sit well with the top brass of the San Francisco Fire Department.

Fire Chief Joanna Hayes-White has filed a verified complaint against Kalos-Gunn, alleging that the battalion chief broke city conduct codes by engaging in political activity during working hours and participating in political activities while in uniform. Hayes-White also alleges that Kalos-Gunn engaged in an unauthorized use of her authority and acted in a way detrimental to the department. For the infractions, Hayes-White is recommending that Kalos-Gunn be suspended for 30 days, according to Fire Department documents.

The Fire Commission will decide what disciplinary measures they will take against Kalos-Gunn when the matter is heard in a special meeting Aug. 26.

Kalos-Gunn declined to comment about the upcoming case when contacted by The Examiner.

Kalos-Gunn once was the Fire Department’s assistant deputy fire chief, but was assigned to the lower-ranking role of battalion chief this year by Hayes-White.

The duty of assistant deputy fire chief is a discretionary role, dependent on Hayes-White’s needs, and Kalos-Gunn’ reassigning does not necessarily imply that she was demoted, according to Lt. Mindy Talmadge, the Fire Department’s spokeswoman. However, the reassignment does result in a $17,000 annual pay cut, Talmadge said. 

Talmadge wouldn’t comment on if Kalos-Gunn faces any more reassignment possibilities if she is found accountable for her alleged infractions.

“It’s a personnel matter, so we can’t get into details, but the administration feels there is substance to the charges brought against her,” Talmadge said.

Kalos-Gunn was among eight candidates for three available spots on the Millbrae City Council. She gained just 11 percent of the vote, finishing sixth among the candidates.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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