Fire Chief

Central Pierce Fire and Rescue | Full-time


The Position

The Fire Chief plans, organizes, and directs the operations and manages the administrative business affairs of Central Pierce Fire and Rescue, providing oversight and operational direction to achieve District goals, objectives, and strategic direction. The Chief routinely prioritizes projects and initiatives, provides updates, and properly communicates on department projects, initiatives, and activities. In addition, the Fire Chief evaluates operational effectiveness and implements process improvements where appropriate.

The Fire Chief directly supervises two Deputy Chiefs, the Human Resources Director, and the Finance Director. Through the chain of command, the Chief establishes appropriate staffing levels and is responsible for the general direction, supervision, and evaluation of all personnel. The Fire Chief cultivates positive labor relations and effectively oversees various labor contracts and employment agreements. The Chief fosters positive employee relationships and exhibits a strong commitment to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion to ensure effective operation as a progressive work team.

The Chief develops, administers, and oversees the Fire District budget, including preparing and presenting the annual budget. The Fire Chief proactively keeps the Board of Commissioners fully advised of the District’s financial condition, including preparing and submitting monthly reports to the Board regarding the District’s activities, and oversees the preparation of various other reports as appropriate, including the annual report of activities. As part of a robust risk management program, the Chief implements occupational health and safety standards, promotes wellness programs, and provides training to minimize District liability.

The Fire Chief also partners closely with the City of Puyallup in the delivery of services. The Chief builds and maintains strong, positive working relationships with elected and appointed officials, other Fire/EMS officials, as well as community and business representatives with a focus on ensuring strong links of communication with the public through meetings, community newsletters, television, and radio, as well as supporting an “open door” policy for problem resolution.

The Priorities

  • Spend the necessary time and effort to form and maintain strong working relationships throughout the Fire District. Establish trust and encourage collaboration while continuing to execute on existing goals and initiatives.
  • Support a values-driven organization. Continue to focus on developing and maintaining a healthy culture and further promoting an equitable environment for all employees.
  • Work to understand the current organization, operations, budget, and overall structure of the District. Continue to develop a sound financial strategy, promote financial sustainability, forecast for future growth, and prepare for the 2022 levy renewal.
  • Continue to implement the EMS Study recommendations with an emphasis on filling current gaps and enhancing service levels that remain response-focused and align with urbanization and anticipated growth.
  • Lead the Fire District through the development and implementation of several plans. Continue to execute on the current five-year strategic plan, update the annual capital facility plan, and collaborate to develop a District master plan.
  • Complete the current station build. Secure funding and prepare for two additional station builds.
  • Develop a communications strategy to reengage the community post covid. Reestablish relationships and encourage genuine and authentic interaction while continuing to educate the community on the services provided by the Fire District.
  • Maintain and continue to grow positive, harmonious relationships with union leaders. Participate in productive, collaborative labor-management meetings and contract negotiations and establish realistic expectations as service delivery changes and evolves.
  • Support ongoing succession planning initiatives. Provide leadership development and professional growth opportunities to prepare personnel for advancement and increased responsibility. Identify new programs and enhance existing services that continue to support the health, wellness, and safety of all Fire District personnel.

The Ideal Candidate

The new Fire Chief will embrace the Fire District’s mission, vision, and values. The Chief leads by example, is committed to excellence, and effectively advocates for Central Pierce Fire and Rescue, its personnel, and the community, at all times. The successful candidate is a confident yet humble leader with a proven ability to prioritize and get things done. Importantly, the Fire Chief brings a stable and consistent presence and clear vision for the Fire District.

With a systems approach, the Fire Chief must a strategic thinker with a clear understanding of business processes. The successful candidate has a progressive mindset and embraces modern views regarding Fire and Emergency Services. The Chief enjoys the challenges associated with growth and is energized by analyzing and defining new opportunities. The ideal candidate values continuous improvement and effectively facilitates and positively leads others through change. In addition, the Fire Chief allows for flexibility to adapt to an emerging environment and understands the importance of retaining the talent required to execute on the District’s strategies.

The Fire Chief has a strong history of developing effective relationships with elected officials and effortlessly partners with the Board of Commissioners, providing sound advice and guidance regarding the Fire District. Considered fiscally responsible, the successful candidate must have an exceptional background in budgets and financial management. With strong situational awareness and high emotional intelligence, the Chief is an effective decision maker and uses logic, data, and metrics to inform and support decisions. Importantly, the Fire Chief has extensive experience in labor environments and promotes collaborative labor relations.

The Fire Chief continues to develop a clear vision for the District and actively motivates employees to achieve it. Considered a proactive leader, the Chief creates a forward-thinking culture that supports collaboration and fosters a welcoming environment based on inclusion, trust, and empowerment. The successful candidate encourages learning through growth and transformation yet is mindful in determining why and how to drive organizational change while maintaining employee morale, building strong teams, and retaining a great workforce. The Fire Chief is a calming influence that sets clear expectations and keeps others well informed. Strong communication, active listening, and transparency are essential to success. The Chief maintains a visible presence, stays connected, and enjoys working side-by-side with all District members.

The Fire Chief enjoys being an active member of the community and will embrace engaging with the public. The successful candidate effectively communicates the value of the Fire District and promotes transparency with the community. The ideal candidate encourages community involvement, embraces outreach, and supports efforts to engage in community education and fire prevention programs.


At least ten (10) years of experience in progressively responsible positions within complex fire service organizations, with at least three (3) years at a senior management level (chief officer or higher). Successful and demonstrated experience in managing a like-sized organization is required. Experience in developing and working with fire department budgets is necessary. Knowledge of modern fire suppression, prevention, and emergency medical services, principles, procedures, techniques, and equipment is essential.

Successful and demonstrated experience in labor management with considerable background in labor relations and labor law is crucial. Experience in the development of employees and supporting a strong culture and work environment is required. Demonstrated experience in maintaining confidentiality and the highest ethical behavior for self and others is essential.

A Bachelor’s degree in Fire Science, Public Administration, or related field is ideal with a Master’s degree desired. Any combination of relevant education, skills, experience, and training that demonstrates the ability to perform and provides for the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to perform the work may be considered.

The Fire District

Central Pierce Fire and Rescue was formed in 1996, following a merger of Fire District 6 (Parkland/Midland), Fire District 7 (Spanaway), and Fire District 9 (Summit/South Hill). In 2009, Central Pierce grew to include the City of Puyallup through annexation and the community of North Puyallup through a merger. These mergers have provided for more efficient and effective service to the communities that now make up Central Pierce Fire and Rescue (CPFR).

Central Pierce Fire and Rescue service area covers 84 square miles and provides 24-hour emergency medical and fire suppression protection to a population of over 225,000. This includes over 300 personnel, two Battalions, and 12 stations. Eight of our stations house paramedic units to provide emergency medical services (both basic and advanced life support) and transport patients to emergency care centers. In addition to fire suppression and emergency medical services, CPFR also provides hazardous materials response and technical rescue services involving any situation where life is in danger.

The governing body consists of board members that are elected by the public to provide administrative oversight, define the long-term vision for the District, set annual budgets, and employ and supervise the Fire Chief. CPFR strives to be an effective and collaborative partner with the communities they serve. The District works hand in hand with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, Puyallup Police Department, and Washington State Patrol. Building strong relationships in the community has always been a tradition of Central Pierce.

CPFR’s Mission is to effectively respond, continuously improve, and compassionately serve. Led by the Fire Chief, the District has a dedicated workforce that includes the following:

  • Administration – Executive staff manages all aspects of District business and provides support to all divisions, including Finance, Human Resources, and Information Technology.
  • Emergency Medical Services – Oversees and supports delivery of high-quality emergency medical services by emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics.
  • Operations – Oversees and supports line personnel who respond to a wide variety of fire, rescue, and medical emergencies.
  • Prevention – Protects life and property through education, building design review, fire and life safety code enforcement, fire investigations, and community risk reduction programs.
  • Support Services – Logistics Division oversees and supports facilities maintenance; apparatus, equipment, and maintenance facility; and central receiving. The Prevention and Education division oversees the community services volunteers.
  • Training – Ensures that personnel at all levels have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to safely and effectively respond to emergency calls for service.

The Fire District Strategic Plan

The CPFR Five-Year Strategic Plan was adopted in 2018 and outlines six key initiatives. The District has made substantial progress and looks to continue to execute on identified initiatives.

  1. Culture and Communication – Improve internal, organizational communication; develop an appropriate department culture; understand and improve interpersonal dynamics; improve member recognition within the District; and adopt relevant, contemporary policies and standards.
  2. Financial Sustainability – Ensure financial and operational stability of equipment and facilities; review current and alternative revenue sources; and conduct robust financial forecasting and semi-annually reviewed economic outlook.
  3. Professional Development – Develop and adopt a succession plan with contracted professional assistance; create and implement career paths; and develop and rollout position-specific enhancements.
  4. Prevention, Education, and Operations – Reduce community risk; develop District-wide community prevention and education program; influence community planning within the District; develop and implement a District master plan; develop and implement a District EMS Delivery system plan; and develop and implement a Fleet Services business practices plan.
  5. Marketing and Outreach – Design and adopt a comprehensive community outreach plan; improve the District’s media presence; improve roles and relationships with allied government agencies and entities; and maintain citizen support.
  6. Regionalization and Cooperation – Create regional efficiencies; develop consistency of approach, configuration, or operation among regional partners; and increase CPFR influence regionally.

Compensation and Benefits

The approved salary for the Fire Chief is $212,472. Central Pierce Fire and Rescue provides excellent benefits, including Medical, Dental, and Vision; Vacation and Sick Leave; Holidays; HRA/VEBA and Flex Spending; Pension and Deferred Compensation; Longevity Pay; Basic Life Insurance and optional additional Life Insurance and/or Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance. The total compensation package is flexible and at the discretion of the Board of Commissioners.

How to Apply

Applications will be accepted electronically by The Novak Consulting Group. Applicants complete a brief online form and are prompted to provide a cover letter and resume. Please apply no later than July 31, 2021.


Please direct questions to Heather Gantz at

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