The City of Lloydminster has named deputy fire chief Jordan Newton as the city’s new acting fire chief. With the position filled temporarily, management can now begin the search for a suitable candidate to take on the role on a permanent basis.
“Jordan has agreed to take on the role. He shows fantastic leadership skills, he checks a lot of the boxes, he has a lot of the certification and criteria. So he is a really good fit for our acting (position) right now and obviously will be considered as we move throughout the process,” said Don Stang, director of community services.
Newton joined the Lloydminster Fire Department in 2010 as a volunteer and by 2013 he rose to the rank of deputy. He graduated from the firefighter training program at the Lakeland College Vermilion Campus and took courses through the National Fire Protection Agency, an international non-profit organization which advocates for fire prevention through research and education.
Newton was determined by the city and fire department to be the best-suited of the city’s three deputy fire chiefs to fill the role. The space has been open since the sudden passing of longtime fire Chief Todd Gustavson in April.
Stang says it was important to have someone occupy that vacancy for the time being because there are certain responsibilities and duties that are reserved for the fire chief.
“There’s the city fire bylaw and the national fire code bylaw and essentially that gives the fire chief authority over fire safety and fire protection,” he said. “So if there seems to be something unsafe (and) our fire chief believes public safety is at risk, he has the ability to use those bylaws and help bring those situations into order.”
The city has not had to fill the fire chief position since 1998, and it has yet to decide on specific criteria for candidates. They said they will not speculate on how long it will take to find and select a new fire chief.
“We’re looking for a leader, we’re looking for somebody who has some experience with fire ... we’re still trying to go through that process. So we’re engaging some external agencies to help us determine what those requirements are going to be,” Stang said. “From the city’s perspective, we still have to go through a process and we’re determining that process right now and then we’ll move forward when we see fit.”
Until that time comes, Stang says he is confident in Newton’s ability to lead in this time of transition.
“The key message from the city is we have a process that we need to go through,” Stang said. “Jordan’s going to step up and we will determine who our best candidate is going forward, whether that’s somebody that’s here or elsewhere.”