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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                          Novcmber 15, 2005





      The Honolulu Fire Commission announced today that Kenneth G. Silva has been selected as the next fire chief for the Honolulu Fire Department. Silva will succeed Attilio Leonardi, who was appointed by the Fire Commission in 1998, and announced in August that he intended to leave his post in January 2006.


       “We had a tremendous group of experienced candidates, but ultimately the commissioners unanimously agreed that Ken Silva stood out as being the most qualified person to build upon the accomplishments of Chief Leonardi and lead the Honolulu Fire Department into the future,” said Commission Chairman William “Buzzy” Hong.


      Silva currently serves as the assistant fire chief in charge of support services.  In that capacity, he is responsible for the planning, development and execution of fire department programs and the professional development of the chief officer corps. He has a bachelor’s degree from University of Hawaii-West Oahu and master’s degree in public administration from UH-Manoa. Silva began his service with the fire department in 1981, and has worked his way up through the ranks as a firefighter, captain, and battalion chief, before becoming an assistant chief in 2002. In 2001, he was the fire department’s Manager of the Year.


      According to Hong, 13 persons applied for the fire chief position, but one later withdrew his name from consideration.  A blue ribbon panel appointed by the commission to screen the applicants and make recommendations to the commissioners interviewed the remaining 12 applicants.  That panel, consisting of former Police Chief Francis Keala, businessman Wesley Park and retired firefighter union head Richard Perry, pared the list to five finalists, all of whom were recommended for consideration by the Fire Commission. The commissioners then interviewed each of the five finalists before selecting Silva. 


      The new fire chief will select the deputy fire chief.  He and his deputy will assume office on January 16, 2006, the day after Leonardi ends his 35 years of service with the Fire Department.


       “By selecting someone now, we hope to provide sufficient time for the new Chief to work with Chief Leonardi and ensure a smooth transition,” said Hong.


      The Fire Commission consists of five members, appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the City Council.  The commission was established by amendments to the City Charter that were approved by voters in 1996, and is charged with appointing the fire chief, annually evaluating the chief, and reviewing the Fire Department’s annual budget and making recommendations to the Mayor and City Council.   Leonardi was the first chief appointed by the Honolulu Fire Commission.


      In addition to Hong, the commission consists of Sandra Au Fong, Jacob Ng, Michael Yamaguchi and Elizabeth Ho.



Tuesday, November 15, 2005

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