San Francisco

San Francisco Settles With Fire Department Harassment Victim For $375,000

The city of San Francisco has agreed to pay $375,000 to settle sexual harassment charges lodged by a fire department administrative analyst against a commander who was demoted and ultimately resigned last year.

The defendant, then Assistant Deputy Chief Ken Lombardi, left the department last October after he was demoted to the rank of captain.

The civilian who filed a confidential letter with the city, Jessica Kennedy, claimed that Lombardi sexually harassed her after she was hired as an analyst in August 2013.

Until last October, Lombardi, a 27-year veteran, had been in charge of earthquake preparedness and support services for the department.

NBC Bay Area was first to report that Lombardi was demoted by Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White. He soon left the department at the civil service rank of captain.

Kennedy opted not to file a lawsuit or a claim with the city. As a result, her accusations remain a confidential personnel matter, San Francisco City Attorney spokesman John Cote said Wednesday.

Nonetheless, the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to pay her $375,000 to settle the matter. Her attorney, Barbara Lawless, did not return calls seeking comment.

According to sources, Kennedy claimed that Lombardi had used his command position to coerce her into having a sexual relationship.

According to the agreement to settle the matter, signed in February, the sum involved was to compensate Kennedy for “alleged physical personal injury and associated emotional distress” stemming from alleged “wrongful conduct by the City including, without limitation, discrimination, retaliation, and sexual harassment.”

The Lombardi case is one in a recent string of harassment scandals to hit the San Francisco Fire Department.

The department reshuffled the command staff at Station No. 2 in Chinatown last year amid allegations of intimidation and hazing of a female firefighter stationed there, including that a colleague allegedly urinated in her bed.

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