Still looking for a fire chief

We’ve got a new police chief, but Mayor Parker is still looking for a new fire chief.

Parker on Wednesday named Charles A McClelland Jr., a veteran Houston police administrator, the city’s new police chief. She concentrated that search on internal HPD candidates.

But the mayor said she will broaden her search when looking for someone to fill the HFD’s top job.

“I want to make sure, because of problems identified in the Fire Department … that the next fire chief is strong enough to make deep cultural changes, and focus very diligently on making our fire department more diverse, racially, ethnically and in the number of women in the fire department,“ Parker said.


The city will use an independent firm to conduct a nationwide search for the new fire chief. Parker hopes to have a new chief named by early summer.

If an outsider is chosen it would be only the second time in HFD’s 115-year history as a professional fire fighting force.

In late 1984, former Seattle Fire Chief Robert Swartout was selected. He resigned the next year after finding himself in the middle of a heated standoff between then-Mayor Kathy Whitmire and the department.

Not a very auspicious precedent. Seemed like there was a lot of sentiment in favor of keeping Charles McClelland, who was the acting HPD Chief before being officially elevated, in that job. I don’t get the same vibe about acting Fire Chief Rick Flanagan, but that may just be because this search has been lower profile. Anyone out there have a sense for this?

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