Rantz: Seattle Fire hired ‘anti-male’ partisan to investigate gender discrimination

The Seattle Fire Department’s new Equal Employment Opportunity Investigator (Strategic Advisor 2) has a controversial history. She’s been involved in two lawsuits for allegations of gender bias, with one lawsuit labeling her “anti-male.”

Jyl Shaffer landed in Seattle after holding two controversial positions at two separate colleges. She was named as a defendant in two lawsuits alleging gender bias and a lack of due process rights for the accused. SFD leadership was aware of the lawsuits when they interviewed and subsequently hired her.

The position’s main responsibility at SFD is to investigate and resolve workplace complaints. These include complaints of gender discrimination and hostile workplace. But given Shaffer’s history, some within the department now wonder how men will be treated if she is involved with the investigation.

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Seattle Fire’s questionable hire

After nearly three and a half years with King County Metro, Shaffer was hired by SFD. Her hiring was announced internally within the last two weeks, according to a source. The hire has some SFD staffers concerned.

Shaffer started as Montana State University’s director of the Office of Institutional Equity and Title IX coordinator in April 2016. But four months later, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle said Shaffer left the position. Shaffer was named in a lawsuit by a student who said she favored transgender students over straight male students.

After privately expressing his objections on transgenderism to one of his professors, student Erik Powell was banned from campus. According to reports, Shaffer claimed his comments were threats. But, the lawsuit alleges, neither the dean of students office nor campus police believed the comments were threats warranting campus removal. Powell, through his lawyers, says he was targeted because his so-called victim is transgender.

According to reports, Shaffer told the transgender student she was “an aspiring ally” and said, “I’m grateful you trusted us.”

The lawsuit also claimed Shaffer “has firmly held anti-male beliefs that she shared on her Twitter account.” It cited a tweet labeling an article about “entitled toxic masculinity” as “accurate AF [as f***].” Shaffer’s bio said she’s “an aspiring ally” into “queer stuff.”

MSU settled the lawsuit with Powell for $120,000 after the school failed to convince a judge to toss the lawsuit. Roughly seven months later, Shaffer took a job as EEO Investigations/Program Manager at King County Metro.

This wasn’t the only lawsuit she was involved in.

A second lawsuit about bias

Shaffer was a Title IX coordinator at the University of Cincinnati between October 2014 and March 2016, according to her LinkedIn page.

Student Tyler Gischel alleged gender discrimination after being found responsible for sexual assault. But he claimed in a lawsuit that investigators ignored the allegation that the accuser was not as drunk as she claimed and that she was romantically involved with the university police detective handling the case.

According to reports, the school also knew that Gischel may have been too intoxicated to consent to sexual conduct with the woman who later accused him of assault. She allegedly kissed and groped an intoxicated Gischel, but the school did not investigate.

Shaffer was one of the defendants named in the suit. Court documents indicate the lawsuit was later settled.

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Why hire a partisan?

Why would SFD hire such a partisan for an agency that is overwhelmingly staffed by males when her alleged bias is against them?

An SFD spokesperson acknowledges that the department was aware of the lawsuits and that Shaffer “underwent several interviews and was offered the position based on her success in the selection process.”

Firefighters and medics have long complained that, under Fire Chief Harold Scoggins, the department has become unnecessarily political and woke. Staffers routinely complain that Scoggins is less interested in fighting fires and helping in medical emergencies and more interested in making political points. It explains why, during a staffing crisis, Scoggins has been more engaged in word policing.

After an anonymous complaint claimed the term “brown out” (which is used to categorize an SFD unit as unstaffed) was racist, Scoggins banned its use. But the complainant was a fraud, admitting to the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH that he made the phony complaint to highlight the out-of-control political correctness of the department. Even after finding out it was a phony complaint, SFD would not reverse its decision.

It’s unclear why Shaffer left King County Metro, but an agency spokesperson confirmed that she resigned from her role. Given her history, this doesn’t seem like SFD staff will be best served.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show on weekday afternoons from 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast. Follow @JasonRantz on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook. Check back frequently for more news and analysis.

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