Update: New Fire and Rescue Chief to Start June 6
P.W. County Fire and Rescue Assistant Chief Brett R. Bowman has announced he will be leading the fire and rescue department for the City of Manassas.
UPDATE: May 26
Prince William County Fire and Rescue Assistant Chief Brett R. Bowman has announced he will be leading the fire and rescue department for the City of Manassas, starting June 6.
Patch is sitting down with the new chief this afternoon; stay tuned to meet your new chief.
ORIGINAL STORY: May 24
Prince William County Fire and Rescue Assistant Chief Brett Bowman was supposed to be heading to Manassas to take on the position as chief for the City's combined fire and rescue department, but has recently said he needs some time to think it over.
According to a report by the Washington Post, Bowman is reconsidering whether he wants to accept the job in a department that lost its last chief, Mike Wood, after just two years. The city also managed to lose the interim chief that replaced him.
The problem? A recent study found that The Manassas Fire and Rescue System does not have consistent staffing of its stations and lacks accountability and oversight chiefly because it does not have a unified mission statement or vision.
The study recommended that to improve the combined system of volunteers and career members, the city should clarify the title of the department “Chief” to ensure he has complete authority over personnel and coordination of services, as well as the sole person who is accountable for the system.
Former Chief Mike Wood echoed the study's findings. Wood said of his December resignation that he left the department because the system lacked a "common vision" on accountability, training and overall strategic plan for the safety and well-being of the residents of Manassas and fire and rescue personnel.
Wood also said he believed he was hired to do an impossible job, one that is bogged down by inner politics that seem to plague combination systems across the country.
While Manassas leaders and fire officials say the safety of the city's residents is not being compromised, officials tell the Washington Post, they are concerned about getting a chief who will stay with the department.
Bowman, who was supposed to start the chief position at the beginning of May asked City Manager Lawrence Hughes for a 30-day extension. Bowman was slated to start work on Monday, June 6, but told the Post he would make a decision later this week whether he will be taking the position.