Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced recently that his team will begin a national search for a new executive fire commissioner, while announcing that the Fire Department is ready for a new direction in leadership after current Fire Commissioner Eric Jones’ released a letter stating his departure from the department.
Jones, who served as fire commissioner since October 2015, will have his final day on Friday, January 14.
“I am incredibly honored to have had the opportunity to lead the Detroit Fire Department and work together with people like yourself who chose a life of giving their all to others,” Jones said during a press conference.
Deputy Fire Chief Dave Fornell said in a FOX 2 News report that the announcement was a surprise to quite a few people.
“It was a bit sudden but hey we all absorbed it. We all know what we need to do to keep this department running and that’s what we’re going to do,” he said in the news report.
Jones, who retired from the Detroit Police Department in 2013 as Assistant Chief, was hired by Duggan in 2014 as director of the Department of Building Safety, Engineering & Environmental Department (BSEED). A year later, Duggan named him Executive Fire Commissioner to replace retiring Edsel Jenkins. During his tenure, the fire department has overhauled its once-aged fleet, reduced EMS response time from nearly 20 minutes for priority runs to the national average of 8 minutes and significantly improved the city’s ISO rating for fire preparedness, which affects homeowner insurance rates in the city.
“Eric has given more than three decades serving and protecting the citizens of Detroit and I thank him for his service,” Duggan said. “I wish him well.”
“Thank you for allowing me to work with you to make the department better,” Jones said in the letter, adding that while it’s time to move onto a new chapter, he will never forget the six years he spent at the department.
Mayor Duggan said in the next several days he will interview DFD candidates to serve as interim Fire Commissioner as his team conducts a national search for a permanent replacement. The Mayor said the interim Commissioner will be named by Jones’ last day with the department.
Duggan said he hopes to have a permanent fire commissioner chosen by mid-year.