KEENE — The city's acting Fire Chief Mark Howard was named the city's permanent fire chief Monday by city officials.
“He's actually been on the department for a number of years, over 20 years,” City Manager John MacLean said. “He has risen through the ranks and taken all the steps to be fire chief.”“He comes from a family that has a long tradition in the fire service,” MacLean said. “He comes from a family of firefighters,”
His father was a fire chief in the Bellows Falls, Vt., area and his brother was a fire chief in Massachusetts.Howard, 45, started with the department as a firefighter and worked his way up through the ranks, serving as a lieutenant, captain and deputy chief. He has also been trained as an EMT and paramedic.
“He has served in every capacity,” MacLean said.Along the way he served as president of the Keene firefighters union, like his predecessor former Keene Fire Chief Gary Lamoureux.
Lamoureux retired as fire chief earlier this year and Howard has been serving as acting chief for the past three months or so, MacLean said.Howard was one of several candidates of current Keene firefighters who had applied for the position.
MacLean said because the pool of candidates was so strong they kept the job hunt internal. He said that is a credit to the department's ability to cultivate and create a good process for succession.“We felt we had a good representation,” he said.
Candidates were evaluated through interview panels, personality profiling and essays.