Grand Rapids Presents Fire Chief Candidate Forum and Announces the Finalists

On Wednesday(March 29, 2023) night, Grand Rapids hosted a meet-and-greet for the public with the three nominees for fire chief. The two finalists are the Port Neches Fire Department’s Chief, Eloy Vega, and the Grand Rapids Fire Department’s Deputy Chief of Support Services, Dr. Brad Brown.

Vega told FOX 17 before Wednesday’s Event

“If the desire of the community is to remain progressive and to remain as one of the premier departments in the nation, if that’s the desire, that’s the will. I want to reassure the community that I have the skills, knowledge, and experience to grow not only with the organization but to grow professionally and individually and to be integral with the community as well.” So if the interest is growth, improvement being the best, and continuing the tradition of excellence, I’m the guy.”

“I think we have dialed in pretty good here in Grand Rapids, been a big part of that, and I’m looking forward to keeping that work going in the future,” Brown said. “By managing our assets and being proactive, I think that we’re setting Grand Rapids up for the future, and I’m excited to get our infrastructure back to where it needs to be.”

Grand Rapids Presents Fire Chief Candidate Forum and Announces the Finalists

While Fire Chief Lehman prepares to retire in the spring, Brown is acting. “The city of Grand Rapids has one of the finest fire departments in the country, and Chief Lehman’s leadership has been very instrumental in getting us to this point,” City Manager Mark Washington said. “This community is looking for someone to continue elevating the quality of life for residents through excellent fire prevention and response services.”

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“Diversity is the biggest issue,” Lt. Harold Elmore with the Grand Rapids Fire Department said Wednesday. “Seeing this department look just like the community that we serve. For many years, we’ve neglected that, and now we have a chief that has put a lot of energy into that, and I would hate to see that momentum dropped.”

Throughout his 31 years of service, Battalion Chief Mark Noorman has served under five different chiefs. He says the next leader will have huge shoes to fill when Chief Lehman retires. “The fire department went through some tough times, as a lot of businesses did in our leadership. We sometimes didn’t feel supported,” he explained. “It’s gonna be a tough, tough choice.”

From 6:30 to 8:30, there was a forum for anyone interested in running for fire chief. In the Monroe Avenue City Commission Chambers on the 9th floor of City Hall.

The whole video is included down below:

Grand Rapids will always listen to its citizens’ feedback. By 5 o’clock, they want people throughout town to have completed an online survey. today, March 31st, Friday.

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