Calif. dept. hires Ariz. chief

By Cathy Locke
The Sacramento Bee

SACRAMENTO, Calif. Todd Harms, assistant chief of operations with the Phoenix Fire Department, has been chosen to lead the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District.

Metro Fire’s board of directors announced the selection Friday, following a nationwide recruitment process. Harms will succeed Chief Mark Wells, who will retire later this year.

“We are pleased to have Todd Harms take the lead as our new fire chief,” board President Jack Scheidegger said in a written statement. “His expertise and leadership experience will add greatly to the existing excellent Metro Fire staff and provide expanded vision and perspective as we move into the future. We are fortunate to have this opportunity to build on the fire leadership provided by Chief Wells.”

Harms has 35 years of public safety service, nine of them as an executive staff member with the Phoenix department. Before his current post, he was assistant chief of personnel and the training division, with oversight of the training academy, command training center, special operations, emergency medical services, technical services, dispatch and region 911 services, according to a Metro Fire news release.

Harms began his fire service career in 1981 as a firefighter paramedic in Peotone, Ill. He joined the Phoenix Fire Department in 1987 and progressed through the ranks as a firefighter, paramedic, engineer, captain, battalion chief, deputy chief of special operations and shift commander. He has been an Urban Search and Rescue team member, and was deployed to hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Harms has a bachelor’s degree in fire service management and is a past adjunct instructor at Phoenix College in the fire science program.

Capt. Michelle Eidam, fire district spokeswoman, said Harms’ contract with the district is being negotiated and his salary has not been determined. The contract likely will go before the board for approval later this month, she said.

The date when Harms will join the district and Wells’ retirement date also have not been determined. Eidam said Harms will work with Wells during a transition period.

Copyright 2016 The Sacramento Bee

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