By Irma Widjojo
VALLEJO, Calif. — After more than a year of operating without a permanent chief, Vallejo will welcome an Arizonan to head the fire department in the coming weeks.
City Manager Dank Keen announced Friday that the city has appointed Jack McArthur, 59, as the new fire chief.
“We just saw somebody with a lot of experience … He has an approach to management of fire service that is very progressive. He really believes in continuous improvement of his team and his command staff to grow and progress in their career,” Keen said.
McArthur has 35 years of experience, 21 as fire chief in various agencies, including Dearborn, Mich., Shonomish County Fire District One, Wash., and most recently Yuma, Ariz. He began his career as a firefighter/paramedic with the City of Harrison Township, Mich., in 1976 until he left as chief in 1988.
After 11 years as Yuma’s fire chief, McArthur has decided to continue his career in Vallejo.
“Really what attracted me to Vallejo is the work to be done, the challenge,” he said in a phone interview.
Although both fire departments had six stations, Yuma has 123 firefighters, about 50 more than Vallejo.
“The challenge is to get it right, to understand what’s unique in the fire department,” McArthur said. “Understanding its culture and making sure it’s incorporated in the plan.”
He will start on May 13, and is planning his move to Vallejo with his wife, Kerri, and their 15-year-old son Sammy. McArthur has two other adult children in Washington.
McArthur was chosen from 26 applicants in the hiring and interviewing process, which began more than two months ago. The position’s salary is $167,434, Keen said.
“He’s a guy who’s looking for a challenging opportunity,” Keen said of the city’s newest hire. “(Vallejo fire) is a challenging agency.”
Vallejo’s last permanent fire chief was Paige Meyer, who left in March, 2013. Since then, the position has been filled by three interim fire chiefs. Retired Santa Cruz chief Ron Prince led the department for most part of the year.
McArthur said he has had a chance to explore a little bit of Vallejo, and will be looking for a residence in town.
“I’m looking forward to joining the fire department and working cooperatively and becoming part of the team,” he said.
(c)2014 Times-Herald (Vallejo, Calif.)
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Distributed by MCT Information Services