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2007 Media Releases


Date:
August 24, 2007
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831


MAYOR BEUTLER NAMES NEW FIRE CHIEF

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Mayor Chris Beutler today named Niles Ford, Deputy Fire Chief in Fulton County, Atlanta, Georgia, as the City of Lincoln's new Fire Chief. Ford will begin his new job with Lincoln Fire and Rescue (LFR) October 1.

"Chief Ford brings the skills, abilities and experience to lead LFR into the future and continue its sterling reputation for quick response and outstanding medical care," said Mayor Beutler. "I chose Chief Ford because he is a fire administration professional and will keep the LFR budget lean and efficient. He has an extensive educational background in fire management, personnel and human resources. He also understands emergency response and what it takes to save lives."

"Chief Ford will be an agent of change for this department," Beutler said. "Change requires strong leadership. But it also requires a commitment from the rest of us to support change. We can have the best fire department in the nation, but it will take positive support from the entire community to make it happen."

"I am humbled and honored to lead the Lincoln Fire and Rescue Department," said Ford. "It is my mission to ensure that we, as members of this great fire service organization, strive continuously to achieve the highest level possible of all risk, all hazard response and patient transport and care. I would like to thank the Mayor, City officials, the selection committee and most importantly, the people of Lincoln for allowing me to be Fire Chief of this great Fire Department. I will work every day to make sure I am worthy of their trust."

Ford has 16 years of experience in public safety, fire suppression and investigation, emergency medical service, training and management. He has been Fulton Countyís Deputy Fire Chief - Logistics, Support Services, Safety and Member Services since 2003. In that position, he manages and directs administration, an annual budget of $36 million, information technology and logistics. He also is responsible for human resource management, training, recruitment and development for the 447 members of the department.

His previous experience includes positions as Captain, Firefighter/Medic, Program Director/Instructor, Lt. Fire Investigator/Inspector, Paramedic and Public Safety Dispatcher in three Alabama communities Ė Bessemer, Adamsville and Birmingham.

Ford is finishing his thesis for a doctorate in Organization and Management from Capella University in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has created courses in Fire Service Operations and Personnel Management. Ford also earned a masterís degree in Management from Faulkner University, Montgomery, Alabama; a bachelorís degree in Public Administration from Athens State University, Athens, Alabama; and an associate degree in Fire Science from Lawson State Community College in Birmingham, Alabama.

Mayor Beutler thanked the members of the Fire Chief Selection Committee for their work on the process. The committee evaluated the 18 applicants for the position. Two local personnel evaluation firms, HRConnex and Talent Plus, also interviewed and evaluated the finalists. Talent Plus had a contract with the City to assess the administrative, management and supervisory positions in LFR; to identify improvements in business operations; and to develop an ongoing management and leadership program for LFR. Beutler said the information will be important to Ford as he makes changes to strengthen the department.

Beutler praised Danny Wright, who has served as Interim Chief since November 2006. Wright will return to his former position as Deputy Chief of the Training Division. "Dan was asked to assume a tough job in the aftermath of the dismissal of the former chief," said Beutler. "Every eye in the City was on him and he responded well. Largely because of Danís leadership, our City ambulance fund is operating in the black. This City owes him a tremendous debt."

Beutler also thanked the men and women of LFR for their professionalism. "Now it is time for this community to unite behind Chief Ford, to unite behind our Fire Department, and put the past where it belongs, in the past," said Mayor Beutler. "If we are to move forward, we must look forward. A city of the future cannot be chained to the controversies of the past."

Fordís annual salary will be $113,000.


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