Wanted: New fire chief

The city of Costa Mesa is looking for a new fire chief.

Interim Fire Chief Tom Arnold is not a candidate for the permanent position.

"I think it's time for the community to have a full-time fire chief, so I'm excited about it," Arnold said. "I'm happy to serve the time I served, but it is time to get a full-time chief."

The application period began Wednesday and closes July 12, according to the job listing. The salary range is $153,216 to $205,320, depending on qualifications.

The city named Arnold interim fire chief in October 2011. During his tenure, he spearheaded a cost-saving reorganization of the Fire Department, which included adding paramedics, reducing on-duty fire personnel and closing the Metro Fire Station near South Coast Plaza. The City Council approved the restructuring in May.

Arnold, a 30-year veteran in the fire service, climbed through the ranks at the Newport Beach Fire Department, where he became deputy fire chief before retiring.

When Costa Mesa said it needed to deal with budgetary issues, Arnold, who had lived in the city for 35 years, began attending council meetings and meeting with city CEO Tom Hatch, offering to help.

He was then selected as interim fire chief, but did not plan to stay in the position, which he termed "a privilege."

He said a more permanent figure would provide stability as the department moves forward.

It is unclear how soon a new fire chief would begin, said city spokesman Bill Lobdell.


Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World