Fire chief likely to leave
The paper says Fire Chief Niles Ford has been offered a job as a city manager in an Atlanta suburb, and I expect he’ll take it.
Ford replaced former Fire Chief Mike Spadt — after several tumultuous years fraught with controversy over firetrucks that didn’t meet city specifications and clashes with Councilman Jon Camp. Ford stepped into a hot mess, but he handled it with self-deprecating, humble aplomb.
However, from the start, there were signs his family was not easily making the transition from its home in the South to Lincoln, Neb. I know his wife often visited relatives back home, where he has ailing relatives.
Just a year after Ford began working here, he applied for a job as fire chief in Austin, Texas, but didn’t get it. He also got caught up in a big controversy of his own in 2009, when the mayor and City Council began clashing over the cost of a minimum staffing provision that got inserted into the fire union contract.
Throughout the mess — during which I tried to sort out who made a $300,000 error — Ford remained silent, refusing to comment, being a good soldier for Beutler. I know he could have said a lot.
So I expect he’ll go (weirdly, if you go to the fire department website, it features a photo of assistant chief John Huff on the home page).
Ford seems to be a truly good person who had a monumental task when he took the job as fire chief here. I wish him well.