Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Los Angeles conducting nationwide search for new fire chief

Los Angeles Fire Department Engine

Courtesy Los Angeles Fire Department

Mayor Eric Garcetti says he wants the Los Angeles Fire Department to be an "efficiently run department that's the best in the country. Right now it's not."

Mayor Eric Garcetti confirmed Friday that his office is conducting a nationwide search for the next chief of the Los Angeles Fire Department. But it was news to the chair of the City Council's Public Safety Committee, who complained that he has not received any information on the plan to replace retired Fire Chief Brian Cummings.

"We're going to do a nationwide search for a great new fire chief," Garcetti told KPCC during his trip to Washington, D.C.

The city's fire chiefs, dating to the mid-1950s, were all promoted from within. 

"We're going to have the right inspector general in place to help us continue to keep that focus going on the racial and sexual harassment issues that we've seen," Garcetti said. "And make sure, also, that we can look back and say this was an efficiently run department that's the best in the country. Right now it's not."

Cummings resigned in October after the mayor reviewed the job performance of all the city's top managers. He inherited some of the department's problems from his predecessors, but those problems persisted more than two years after he assumed command. 

Councilman Mitch Englander, chair of the Public Safety Committee, said Friday morning he didn't know the status of the search for a new chief.

"Have we started a search? Are we doing a national search? Are we looking internally?," Englander asked during the morning meeting. 

"As the chair of Public Safety, I've heard nothing on what we're doing yet for a search. I'd like to hear directly from the Mayor's Office on what our plans are, what the scope is, exactly what type of candidate we're looking for," he said. 

The mayor told KPCC his top priorities for a new chief will be reducing response times, diversifying the department, and incorporating new technology into LAFD.

Chief James Featherstone is serving as the interim chief. 

 

 

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