Fire Chief


Job Details

  • Job Function: Fire Chief
  • Position Type: Full Time
  • Population: 46,478
  • Website:
  • Form of Government: Council-Manager


The City of Olympia, Washington, is seeking a Fire Chief to join a proud organization with a rich history of providing exceptional service and a tradition of excellence in serving the community. This is an exciting executive leadership opportunity to work in a dynamic, effective, and fun organization in one of the most scenic settings you will find anywhere.

Nature is at your doorstep in Olympia. With fresh and salt-water shorelines and nearby timbered forests, Olympia offers convenient access to water sports, hiking, and outdoor recreation. The City is routinely recognized for its outstanding quality of life, vibrant downtown, convenient walking and biking, active/engaged community, low crime rate, and family friendly amenities. Olympia, the Capital City, is also the entertainment, arts and cultural hub for the Thurston County area and beyond.

Olympia is also within easy driving distance of major national parks, Pacific Ocean, Cascade and Olympic Mountains, and urban centers of Seattle WA, Portland OR, and Vancouver BC.

City Government
Our Vision: A Vibrant, Healthy, Beautiful Capital City
Our Mission: Working Together to Make a Difference
Our Values: Compassion, Integrity, and Effectiveness
Olympia operates under a council-manager form of government. The City Council has seven members including the Mayor. Councilmembers and the Mayor are non-partisan elected officials.

Olympia Fire Department
Olympia's first fire fighting unit, Barnes' Hook and Ladder Brigade, was organized in the early 1850's. Columbia Number 1, the first fire engine company to be established in the Washington Territory, was formed in Olympia in 1865. Olympia's first salaried firefighter was hired in November 1889.

Today, the City of Olympia Fire Department (OFD) is an all-career department with 105 members. The Department has four stations, deploys four engines, one ladder truck, two medic units and a battalion unit. The engines and truck are staffed with two firefighters and an officer, while the medic units are staffed with two firefighter/paramedics. At minimum staffing, there is a full complement of 20 members on duty. OFD covers approximately 25 square miles and in 2018 responded to 12,366 calls for service.

About the Position
The City of Olympia is proud of its history and excited for its new Fire Chief to help the City and Department create the vision and strategic plan for the next 20 years. Olympia has been a leader in the delivery of fire and emergency medical services and intends to lead into the future in the midst of a rapidly changing set of demands and opportunities.
This is a key leadership position reporting directly to the City Manager and is responsible for serving the public safety needs of a growing, diverse community. The Executive Management Team is seasoned, dedicated and creative. The new Fire Chief will join this team that knows how to get things done and have fun along the way.
Essential functions of the position include:
• Overseeing the efficiency and safety of the Department’s personnel
• Aligning systems, developing staff, building teams, organizing functions, determining priorities, and improving processes to provide exceptional service
• Ensuring professional development of command staff and employees to enhance their success and facilitate positive employee morale and strong organizational performance
• Establishing procedures to address both fire responses and patient transports in the Olympia metropolitan area
• Forging valuable and collaborative relationships with the community and local, regional, and federal agencies
• Leveraging sophisticated technology and analytics to identify and manage fire emergency and medical service trends
• Creating and implementing new programs to embrace changing developments in fire administration
• Effectively managing the Department’s financial resources and establishing short- and long-term financial plans
• Working collaboratively with internal and external partners inside and outside of the traditional fire and medical services arena
• Establishing management practices and processes that ensure the accomplishment of performance standards
The City of Olympia is seeking a courageous, credible, unifying leader who is deeply committed to the success of the City and is a strategic big-picture thinker. The Chief will be an active, involved and highly visible leader with a proven reputation for being accessible, honest, and transparent. The Fire Chief will have a track record of being a forward-thinking leader who believes in making the right ethical, value-based decisions for the benefit of the Department and the community it serves.

The preferred candidate will have experience and demonstrated success in the following areas:
 Large-scale leadership and management experience
 High level of integrity, ethics and transparency
 A thorough understanding of fire operations, emergency medical and emergency management issues
 Strategic leadership and planning skills in a large organization
 Creative problem solver, bringing fresh ideas and a progressive approach to the OFD
 Open, honest and accessible
 Positive, cooperative labor relations experience in a represented organization
 Customer service and the ability to mentor, coach and direct the work of staff
 Collaboration and partnership building skills
 Champion of workforce equity and diversity
 Politically astute
 Significant fiscal responsibility in a complex organization managing budgets that include multiple funding sources
 Ability to make internal policy decisions with large-scale implications.
 Successful experience working with business, labor, tribes, community leaders and other stakeholders and partners

An earned bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with at least seven years experience in a senior leadership role within a fire department that involves leading a diverse staff and management of significant funds. Candidates should bring strengths in both external relations and high-level internal management, with an ability to balance the two.

Total Compensation
The annual salary for this position is $165,159. The City offers a competitive benefit package including health, vision and dental insurance, as well as vacation and sick leave. The City participates in the State of Washington Law Enforcement Officers' and Fire Fighters' (LEOFF) Plan 2 retirement system.

Application Process
Persons Interested in this position should submit the following information:
• Cover letter
• Current resume

How To Apply:
If you have questions regarding this announcement, please call Marissa Karras at 360.956.1336.

This position will remain open until filled. In order to be considered for the first round of interviews please submit your application materials at by July 14, 2019.


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