Santa Monica Lookout
|Santa Monica Appoints Interim Fire Chief|
By Lookout Staff
May 1, 2015 -- Dennis Downs, a retired fire chief with a career that has spanned more than 37 years has been appointed Interim Fire Chief for Santa Monica, City officials announced Thursday.
Downs retired from the Pasadena Fire Department in September of 2011 after nearly eight years of service. Prior to that, Downs served for a decade as fire chief for the Venture Fire Department and for 15 years as a member of the Fresno Fire Department.
Since his retirement, Downs has been consulting for the Tournament of Roses in emergency management, said by Interim City Manager Elaine Polachek, who announced the appointment.
Downs will assume the post May 11, replacing Fire Chief Scott Ferguson, who left after five years to head the City of Murrieta’s Fire Department in Riverside County. Ferguson said he was leaving to spend more time with his family. Ferguson leaves on May 10.
Downs said he is proud to join the Santa Monica Fire Department.
“I had the privilege of working in three great communities, and now it’s an honor to work for the City of Santa Monica,” Downs said. “The Santa Monica Fire Department has a long standing tradition for delivering top notch services and an ongoing commitment to the community. It is a team I proudly join.”
His background includes administration, emergency disaster management, fire command, prevention, suppression, investigation, emergency medical services, staff training and community relations, officials said.
“His expertise and intimate knowledge of fire operations at every level is a great asset to our city during this time of transition,” Polachek said. “We enthusiastically welcome him to our community.”
During Ferguson’s tenure, he and his officers managed more than 108 responders and 15-person civilian staff in areas of medical emergencies, Hazmat, urban search and rescue, fire prevention and emergency preparedness.
Ferguson was so serious about spending more time with his family that he took a pay cut to move to his new job – from $250,000 in Santa Monica to $190,000 in Murrietta, where his parents will join the family.
Downs is expected to hold the post while the City searches for a permanent replacement.
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