Jun. 10—MANCHESTER — A nationwide search for the next fire chief pointed town officials close by as Assistant Fire Chief Daniel French was named this week as the next fire chief for the Manchester Fire-Rescue-EMS.
French, a 33-year veteran of the fire service, began his new post Monday.
"Chief French competed with a strong pool and demonstrated success in leading an increasingly progressive Fire-Rescue-EMS operation," General Manager Scott Shanley said when announcing the appointment. "His vision for future operational opportunities to benefit the entire community, and his well-earned reputation as a bridge-builder and problem solver make him the person most qualified in leading MFRE over the next several years."
Town officials said they partnered with Strategic Government Resources to conduct a nationwide search and candidate selection process. Finalists underwent a series of panel interviews with external municipal and fire service experts, as well as a community panel comprised of residents.
French moves to his new leadership role after serving as the department's assistant fire chief for the past six years. Town officials credit French with instituting the department's first set of Department Rules and Regulations and introducing the first formal Standard Operating Procedure manual for the department.
He also implemented the first formal Officer Training Program, and the chief has played a critical role in the effort to diversify the department. Over the past three years, more than 20% of new hires have been women and people of color.
"The selection process for this position was very competitive and I have tremendous confidence that Chief French, in what is already a model career, will lead the department into an even brighter future as we head further into this decade and beyond," Mayor Jay Moran said.
French said he was grateful for the opportunity to lead Manchester Fire-Rescue-EMS.
"As a proud resident of Manchester, it is a tremendous honor to serve this vibrant, welcoming, and diverse community," French said. "The quality, professionalism, and dedication of the men and women of Manchester-Fire-Rescue EMS are second to none and it is a privilege to be able to lead them as fire chief."
In March, former Manchester Fire-Rescue-EMS Chief David Billings retired from his position after more than 30 years of fire service in town. Shortly after, the nationwide search for his replacement began.
The town conducted surveys in both English and Spanish to try to get feedback from residents on what they want in a fire chief.
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