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Media Release


Wednesday, July 10, 2013
For Immediate Release

Contact: Jace Radke
Telephone: 229-2205


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


The Las Vegas City Council unanimously ratified the appointment of William McDonald as the new fire chief. McDonald, who most recently served as the San Jose, Calif. fire chief, was selected for the position by City Manager Betsy Fretwell.
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. 

“I’m very happy to be joining the city of Las Vegas team led by City Manager Betsy Fretwell,” McDonald said. “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 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.

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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