The Omaha Fire Union is addressing today's announcement that Mayor Jean Stothert named Dan Olsen as Fire Chief. Union President Steve LeClair is demanding assurances that the promotion process was fair and transparent.
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The City of Omaha has a new fire chief.
Mayor Jean Stothert announced that Dan Olsen has been named fire chief Wednesday morning. Olsen has been acting as interim chief since May, when Chief Bernie Kanger retired. In a statement, Stothert says "Chief Olsen's priority has always been the safety of our citizens and firefighters. He is very qualified, trusted and tested and will be a strong leader."
Ten candidates applied for the position, which was cut down to four. Olsen was not one of the final four, but was added when one of those four candidates was eliminated by Mayor Stothert.
Olsen is a 24 year veteran of the fire department with extensive experience in command positions such as Captain, Battalion Chief, Assistant Chief and Interim Chief. He is also a certified police officer and graduated from the police academy in 2001.
Omaha Professional Firefighters Union President Steve LeClair released this statement on Olsen's appointment as fire chief:
We acknowledge Chief Olsen's service to the City of Omaha and we will continue to work with him to protect the interests of the 630 men and women who serve our city as members of the Omaha Professional Fire Fighters Association.
Our members demand transparency and fairness throughout the promotional process and expect that those values were followed during the Mayor's selection of the Chief of the Department. Two of our members were among the final four candidates. Those members, the members-at-large of the Omaha Professional Fire Fighters, and the general public should demand assurance that the process the Mayor followed was fair and impartial.
Regardless of who the Mayor has selected as Fire Chief, the process used to select him, and her reasons for doing so, our primary goal is to protect our members and the public and exceed the national standards when it comes to response times and quality of emergency services. We will carry on that mission today, tomorrow and in the future.