LA city fire chief will retire

The chief of the Los Angeles Fire Department, Douglas Barry, announced today that he’s ready to retire. KPCC’s Brian Watt says his announcement follows more than three decades with the department.

Brian Watt: South Bay native Douglas Barry attended Narbonne High School, Harbor College, and Cal State Long Beach. He spent 34 years moving up the ranks of the city fire department.

Three years ago, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa appointed Barry interim chief as the department was burning with racial and sexual harassment scandals. Barry believes he’s turned the department around. But he understands that some people might think controversy drove him out.

Douglas Barry: To the contrary. Everyone, from the mayor, the City Council, the Fire Commission, the controller, and the fire department members have been extremely supportive of me and my leadership and have expressed to me their desire that I stay longer.

Watt: Barry is the L.A. Fire Department’s first African-American chief. His announcement comes as the department prepares to address a deficit of $56 million. The tough budget year begins on July 1st, and Barry says he’ll stay on until August 30th to make some of the tough calls.

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