LOS LUNAS, NM (KRQE) – Valencia County Emergency Services Chief Steven Gonzales and two division chiefs within the department received suspensions after pictures surfaced of the men in uniform with scantily clad women on a recent out-of-state training trip.
It happened while Gonzales, Division Chief Nicholas Moya and Division Chief Casey Davis were in Indianapolis for the Fire Department Instructors Conference. A Facebook post from Davis indicated he was “drinking beer” with Gonzales and Moya at Ike and Jonesy’s, an Indianapolis bar and grill, on April 21st.
“We were waiting for the convention to open it was our lunch break so we went and had lunch,” Moya said.
Pictures from that bar show things went past drinks and food.
“We let our hair down a little too much and pictures were taken,” Moya said.
In one photo, Moya is shown in a uniform polo shirt with a woman in a bikini on his lap wearing his Valencia County hat.
In another photo, Moya is shown grabbing part of another woman’s outfit with his teeth. The bottom of the swimsuit is stuffed with cash.
Yet another photo shows Chief Gonzales, also in a uniform polo, appearing to kiss the upper thigh of a woman spread out on a chair.
Ike from Ike and Jonesy’s tells KRQE News 13 the restaurant has hired women to entertain firefighters during lunch breaks at the conference for the past 21 years.
Valencia County manager Danny Monette says the photos were brought to the county’s attention soon after they were taken by the acting fire chief at the time. He says they are in clear violation of county policy.
“We expect a higher standard from our employees than something like that,” Monette said. “They were caught doing things that they’ve admitted to being wrong and they’re very apologetic.”
“I’m really, really sorry for what I did,” said Moya. “I hope it doesn’t reflect badly on the county.”
Monette said he considered firing the chief and the two others, but after reviewing their personnel files opted for suspensions and a reprimand instead.
“I see them as model employees and I see this as one time messing up and I think everybody deserves a second chance,” Monette said.
KRQE News 13 called Chief Gonzales several times to request an interview. None of those calls were returned, but the county did say that Gonzales was writing a letter to the community apologizing and explaining what occurred in Indianapolis.
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