Glenn Davis next fire chief

Nov 8, 2018 by

Published November 7, 2018

By DAN TOMASELLO

LYNNFIELD — The Board of Selectmen unanimously voted to appoint Deputy Fire Chief Glenn Davis as the next leader of the Fire Department during Monday’s meeting.

The Fire Chief Screening Committee recently recommended that the selectmen interview Davis and Lynnfield Fire Lt. James Alexander for the fire chief position. If Davis and Town Administrator Rob Dolan can finalize a contract agreement, Davis will succeed current Fire Chief Mark Tetreault. The selectmen voted not to renew Tetreault’s contract last June.

The selectmen asked Davis and Alexander six questions that pertained to budgeting, challenges, collaboration, experience and leadership skills.

Davis has served as a firefighter for the past 28 years. In addition to serving as deputy chief, he has worked as MelroseWakefield Healthcare’s Oncology Department’s operations manager since February 2011.

“I was hired as a firefighter and worked my way up the ranks,” said Davis. “I was appointed lieutenant, captain and now deputy chief. The opportunity to be chief of the Lynnfield Fire Department has been a goal of mine since I got on the department. I love public service.”

THE BOARD OF SELECTMEN appointed Deputy Chief Glenn Davis as the town’s next fire chief on Monday. (Dan Tomasello Photo)

Davis noted he oversees four departments and a $5 million budget for MelroseWakefield Healthcare’s Oncology Department. He said he leads “by example.”

“I don’t expect anyone to do anything I wouldn’t do,” said Davis. “I gained the mutual respect and trust of my fellow firefighters by leading as they want to be led. I have always been that way.”

Davis said he would work to build relationships with not only local officials and town departments, but also fire departments in neighboring communities. He said the recent natural gas disaster in the Merrimack Valley and the First Baptist Church fire in Wakefield highlights the importance of providing mutual aid.

“During major events, we need to communicate and be on the same page,” said Davis. “Building trust and relationships is vitally important.”

Davis said recruiting and retaining call firefighters will be a major challenge in the coming year.

“It’s becoming more and more of a challenge across the country and not just in Lynnfield because volunteerism is down,” said Davis. “Call members help our department.”

Davis said he would work to ensure the Fire Department provides a high level of service while being fiscally responsible.

“It’s always a balance to try and provide the highest quality and best level of service possible at the best possible cost,” said Davis.

Davis thanked the selectmen for considering him for the fire chief’s position.

“If I am lucky enough to lead this department, I look forward to working with the members of this department who are so dedicated to what they do,” said Davis. “I look forward to guiding them in the future and continue providing a high level of service to the citizens of Lynnfield.”

Alexander, who was interviewed before Davis, thanked the selectmen for considering him for the fire chief job. He has been passionate about firefighting since he began working as a Lynnfield firefighter in 1974.

“I was and continue to be very proud to serve my community,” said Alexander. “I knew very early on that firefighting was what I wanted to do with my life. When the opportunity to become full-time became available, I jumped all over it. I am proud to say that over the years I have taken on more responsibility and have been involved in every aspect of the department. I love what I do.”

Selectmen weigh in

Selectmen Chairman Dick Dalton, who served as the screening committee’s chairman, noted Davis was the committee’s “unanimous number one choice.” He said he didn’t get a chance to know Davis until he met with the deputy chief in order to discuss the proposal to revamp the Fire Department’s staffing system.

“The staffing plan was the biggest change to the fire service in this town in many decades,” said Dalton. “It was an important decision for the town. When you make a dramatic change like that, you want to do your due diligence. I really had a hard time wrapping my arms around the whole proposal and making sure we understood the costs associated with it. Chief Tetreault set up a meeting with him, the deputy chief and myself. At the end of the meeting, I was comfortable with the whole proposal and understood it like it hadn’t been explained. My impression of the hour long meeting with the deputy chief is you could recognize his management skills and his ability to present a complex problem in a way that is simple.”

Dalton also noted Davis is respected by both firefighters and police officers. While Dalton said Alexander is “absolutely a fine firefighter who did great during the interview process,” he supported appointing Davis as the next fire chief.

Selectman Phil Crawford said he’s known Davis and Alexander for many years.

“They are both outstanding individuals who are respected in this town and we all should because what they do is not easy,” said Crawford. “We are very lucky to have both of them. It’s a very tough choice because they are both deserving. They are both respected by not only the community, but by their fellow firefighters. I believe the deputy chief might be the better choice.”

While Selectman Chris Barrett noted his daughter urged him to appoint Alexander because the fire lieutenant helped save her classroom’s pet turtle, he expressed his support for Davis.

“I think this is a very difficult decision for the Board of Selectmen,” said Barrett. “These are two fine individuals who serve the town of Lynnfield very well. We have two individuals who could be effective leaders for the department. I am going to go with the screening committee’s recommendation and support Deputy Chief Glenn Davis. I think he will do a fine job and I am sure Lt. Alexander will be right by his side.”

Dalton encouraged Davis to consider appointing Alexander as the Fire Department’s next deputy chief.

“There is a great deal of respect for Lt. Alexander,” said Dalton. “Hopefully that is something (Davis) will consider, but we are not going to micromanage the department by any means.”

After the selectmen voted to appoint Davis, Alexander congratulated the next fire chief on his appointment. The two firefighters were also given a round of applause.

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