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A female Salt Lake City firefighter filed a claim of gender-based discrimination and sexual harassment against Fire Chief Brian Dale and the municipality recently — a fact known by Mayor Ralph Becker and some City Council members before Dale was appointed to the post last week.

On her campaign website Monday, Jackie Biskupski called the revelation "disturbing."

Biskupski, a former state legislator and a high-ranking administrator in the office of Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder, is challenging Becker in the mayor's race.

"Just last week, a day after the mayor released a written statement about the sexual-harassment case in the police department, he appointed a new chief in the fire department, a man currently under investigation for sexual harassment," Biskupski's post said.

"While I'm in no way assuming culpability or innocence and the process should be allowed to play out," she said, "it is disturbing that in light of the police-department situation, the mayor and council would proceed in appointing and promoting a man to chief who is currently under investigation for sexual harassment."

A statement from Becker's office said the mayor had reviewed the matter at length with the city attorney's office and the Human Resources Department before appointing Dale, previously deputy chief and a 29-year veteran of the department.

"The individual who filed the allegations, which are unsubstantiated, is an employee who has demonstrated performance and conduct issues," the statement said. "Based on the information provided, the mayor concluded that the charges are simply unfounded."

The mayor's statement added that the City Council agreed with a 5-1 vote for approval.

Last month, three women gave notice of intent to sue Salt Lake City for sexual harassment in the police department. Their claims were earlier substantiated by the city's Human Resources Department, as well as the Police Civilian Review Board.

Those allegations, while shown to be factual, were deemed not to be grounds for dismissal. The alleged perpetrator, former Deputy Chief Rick Findlay, retired with full benefits.

The firefighter's present claim was filed with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), according to Biskupski and others.

The lone vote against Dale's appointment was Council Chairman Luke Garrott, who confirmed Monday that the council had been briefed by the city attorney's office about the allegations brought by the unidentified firefighter.

Garrott wouldn't comment further on the closed-session briefing. But in voting against Dale's appointment, he said the Becker administration had not vetted the candidate thoroughly enough.

Garrott also is running against Becker.

Councilman Charlie Luke recalls the briefing and that the city attorney "was unequivocal the claims were unsubstantiated."

"That is why I was comfortable voting for the appointment," he said.

Councilwoman Erin Mendenhall, too, recalls the briefing on the EEOC investigation, but said she could not comment further on the details of the closed meeting. She noted, however, that after the briefing, she was willing to vote for Dale's appointment.

Councilman James Rogers said he also recalls being briefed on the gender-based discrimination issue, but did not recall the sexual-harassment allegations.

The councilman said he had been told the complainant was something of a troublemaker who was predisposed to such complaints. He could not recall who made those comments, but noted he was comfortable with his "yes" vote for Dale's appointment.

Council members Kyle LaMalfa and Lisa Adams were less sure about the case. Both said they were unaware of sexual-harassment allegations against Dale, the fire department and the city.

Both said it would be better if the investigation were completed before Dale was appointed chief.