San Jose Fire Chief William McDonald will step down from his position after he was selected to serve as the head of Las Vegas’ fire department.
McDonald was nominated to become the Las Vegas fire chief by Betsy Fretwell, the city manager for Las Vegas. McDonald’s appointment is expected to be approved by the City Council there in July, according to a press release sent out by the city of San Jose.
McDonald has served as San Jose’s fire chief since August 2010. During that time, City Manager Debra Figone said his leadership, creativity, support as a city executive staff member and strong commitment to community engagement has played a significant role in the city’s leadership.
“He has successfully nurtured productive relationships both within the department and with our residents during a period of great challenge and change,” Figone said in a prepared statement.
No mention was made of the department’s inability to properly track its response times, an issue that has still not been fully explained.
McDonald said although he will miss San Jose and the people of the fire department, Las Vegas presents a unique opportunity for his career.
“I’m looking forward to advancing the work being done by the Las Vegas Fire Department in the field of pre-hospital emergency care, as well as continuing their leadership to achieve service efficiencies through interagency collaborations,” he said.
The San Jose Fire Department has 790 employees and an annual budget of approximately $163 million. Under McDonald’s management, the department obtained federal grants that helped the department retain and increase firefighter staffing levels, Figone said.
“Although I’m sad we’re losing Willie to Las Vegas, I am grateful for his service to San Jose and excited for him and his new opportunities,” Figone said. “I’m very confident that we have a strong team in place to lead our department through this transition until we select our next fire chief.”