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Local & State

Reginald Johnson to lead Charlotte Fire Department
First African American named permanent chief
Published Friday, March 23, 2018 8:13 am
by Herbert L. White

Charlotte Fire Chief-designate Reginald Johnson.

Charlotte’s next fire chief is coming from outside the local ranks.

Reginald Johnson, assistant fire chief in Fairfax, Va., was named Charlotte’s chief Thursday, making him the first African American appointed to the position on a permanent basis. City Manager Marcus Jones cited Johnson’s leadership skills and embrace of diversity as assets.

“Reggie’s passion for the fire service is second only to his passion for people,” Jones said in a statement. “He is an excellent communicator with a talent for relationship building that will be instrumental in continuing Charlotte Fire Department’s track record of success.”

Johnson, a fire and emergency management professional for 24 years, takes over a department shaken by leadership changes and criticism of its culture. Former chief Jon Hannan, a 38-year CFD employee who led the department for 10 years, retired under pressure after the city lost a whistleblower case that cost taxpayers $1.14 million. Pete Key, an African American, took over as interim chief.

“I am honored, blessed and humbled to serve as Charlotte’s next fire chief,” said Johnson, who oversees 1,300 uniformed officers at the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department. “I look forward to meeting the men and women who have cemented Charlotte Fire Department as a leader in fire service and emergency management. Together, I know we can accomplish great things.”

CFD, which has a budget of $124 million, operates 42 fire stations and provides fire service for an area of 322 square miles.

Johnson has been an executive with the Fairfax department for six years, including deputy fire chief and battalion chief. He built a reputation as a champion of diversity initiatives, which Key pushed as interim chief and Charlotte City Council encouraged.





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