By John Larson – firstname.lastname@example.org
A Tacoma native who has been working his way through the ranks of Tacoma Fire Department is poised to become the city’s next fire chief. Jim Duggan, who became chief in 2012, is about to retire after many years of service to the department.
Green is a graduate of Wilson High School. He has been with the department for 26 years in a number of positions, working as an emergency medical technician, paramedic and firefighter before moving into administrative roles. He currently serves as deputy chief of administration. City Manager Elizabeth Pauli selected him to become the next chief. Under a change to Tacoma City Charter approved by voters several years ago, Tacoma City Council must approve the hiring of department heads. That decision is scheduled for the April 16 meeting.
“After careful review and analysis of the desired experience and competencies for Tacoma’s next fire chief, it became evident that we have a highly capable and accomplished candidate in our midst,” Pauli said. “He knows the issues the department is facing and has the courage and skills to lead the department to its amazing potential.
Green addressed the Council during its April 9 study session. He touched on several issues facing the department, such as aging facilities. Some of them are more than 50 years old, with a few more than 90 years old. He wants to identify sources of funding for upgrades to fire stations.
Green discussed the recession that began in 2008 and the impact it had on TFD. The department lost 50 firefighters, some to retirement and some to other jobs.
One impact it had was a shift in some training from in the classroom to online. This was done for training on diversity, which Green thinks would work better in person.
Green has ideas for improving lines of communications between firefighters and TFD leadership. He plans to have several advisory committees examine this issue. Several will be comprised of TFD employees, with another for members of the general public. Green feels this will provide new opportunities for engagement.
“I am someone who understands people and meets them at their own level,” he told the Council.
Councilmember Chris Beale asked about Green’s plans for diversity in the department. Green said in the current group in training, nine of the 24 recruits are women.
Green said a question that has been posed to all recruits is whether they have any firefighting experience. Green noted the requirements to be hired are that a person be at least 18, has not smoked for two years and has a driver’s license. For younger applicants, it is unlikely they would have any prior experience. Now the department asks questions about what kind of person an applicant is in gauging how appropriate they are for this type of work. “There is no reason the department should not reflect the community it serves,” he declared.
Councilmember Robert Thoms asked about South Sound 911 and TFD’s integration into the relatively new agency. Green said unlike some local fire departments, TFD uses a system which identifies the location of a fire truck, rather than the station it is based out of, when sending them to respond to emergencies. He said he does not want that element to be lost as TFD consolidates into South Sound 911.
Mayor Victoria Woodards said Green is a great choice to become chief. “Our citizens and our city will be well served.”