Media Release


Thursday, June 13, 2013
For Immediate Release

Contact: Jace Radke
Telephone: 229-2205


Las Vegas City Manager Appoints New Fire Chief
Former San Jose, Calif. Fire Chief William McDonald Tapped For Position


Las Vegas City Manager Betsy Fretwell has appointed a new fire chief for the Las Vegas Fire & Rescue Department. William (Willie) McDonald, who most recently served as the San Jose, Calif. fire chief, was selected, with his appointment subject to City Council ratification in July.
McDonald will succeed former Clark County Fire Chief Steven Smith, who has been providing interim leadership at the fire chief level since April 22. The process to find a replacement involved a national search with more than 60 candidates considered from across the nation, to include local and internal candidates.
“After a thorough search, I am happy to select Chief McDonald,” Fretwell said. “His experience serving in the capacity of fire chief for nearly 19 years, coupled with his educational background and extensive training knowledge, will make him a welcome addition to our team.”

McDonald has served as the fire chief in the city of San Jose, Calif. for approximately two-and-a-half years. He previously served as the fire chief in the cities of Foster City, Calif.; San Mateo, Calif.; Fremont, Calif.; and Scottsdale, Ariz. He has more than 35 years of continuous service as a firefighter and has served as a fire chief since Feb. 1, 1993.

“I’m very happy to be joining the city of Las Vegas team led by City Manager Betsy Fretwell,” said McDonald. “I’m looking forward to advancing the work being done by the Las Vegas Fire Department in the field of pre-hospital emergency care, as well as continuing the department leadership to achieve service efficiencies through interagency collaborations.”

McDonald holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from California State University, Hayward, and a bachelor’s degree from California State University, Fresno. He has also completed the state and local government program at Harvard University in 2000 and the Certified Public Manager Program at Arizona State University in 2007. He is also a graduate of the Executive Fire Officer’s Program through the National Fire Academy.


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