BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Mayor Joe Ganim announced a new leadership team on Wednesday for the Bridgeport Fire Department, naming Richard Thode to be provisional fire chief and Lance Edwards as the deputy fire chief.
Thode, a 29-year department veteran, was previously assistant fire chief. He succeeds Brian Rooney, who retired as fire chief last month after a 44-year career in the department.
Edwards, a decorated 27-year Stratford Fire Department veteran, scored highest on the civil service test for deputy chief and will now be second in command of the Bridgeport Fire Department, outranking two other deputy chiefs.
“I am very pleased to announce this new leadership team for the Bridgeport Fire Department, a team that can really take this department into the 21st century,” Ganim said. “Chief Thode is a firefighter’s firefighter – he has worked at every level of the Bridgeport Fire Department in his nearly three decades of service to this city and he’s well-poised to lead the department.
"Joining him in partnership is Deputy Chief Edwards who has also had an exemplary career and scored very highly in our civil service process as we sought to strengthen the management of this department."
The appointment of Edwards, who is African-American, shows the value the city places on diversity throughout all ranks of the department, Ganim said.
Thode started as a firefighter in 1987, rising through the ranks as a lieutenant, captain and assistant chief. He has commanded firefighters in the field, integrated technology to improve their safety, and overseen reforms to improve the productivity and efficacy of operations.
He has also served on joint management-labor committees.As provisional chief, Thode will lead the department on an interim basis, as a civil service process to find a permanent appointee is already underway. Thode may apply for the permanent position.
Edwards started in 1988 in Stratford as a firefighter, moving up to the rank of lieutenant and assistant chief. He also has extensive background in labor-management mediation and negotiations.
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