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Ex-captain won't be reinstated

A former Sacramento fire captain has lost his bid to return to work after having been fired for cruising bars, drinking on duty and giving joy rides to women in his fire engine.

A state civil service board on Tuesday denied Steven Conti's appeal. Conti has exhausted his appeal process at the municipal level, said Dee Contreras, director of labor relations for the city of Sacramento.

Conti was terminated by the Sacramento Fire Department in October 2004 after officials investigated allegations that Conti's crew stopped at midtown bars, met women and gave them rides while the engine was responding to emergency calls.

Conti admitted to many of the allegations but fought the termination, claiming the behavior was part of a culture supported by fire department leaders.

Two firefighters under Conti's command were given "last chance" agreements and suspensions after receiving termination letters. A third firefighter under his command received suspension.

The letters required them to receive treatment for substance abuse or alcoholism.

Neither Conti nor his attorney could be reached for comment Thursday.

Conti was one of 25 firefighters disciplined in multiple investigations into misconduct from July 2004 to last spring.

Conti still has the option of appealing the decision on his termination in Sacramento Superior Court.