Nearly One Year Later Grand Island Chooses Fire Chief

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After nearly a year without the City of Grand Island has a fire chief.

Mayor Jay Vavricek selected Grand Island Fire Captain Cory Schmidt as his appointment, and Tuesday night the city council approved that choice.

Schmidt is a 16-year veteran of GIFD and is currently serving as a captain at Station 2.

Even with three council members absent, including Council President Peg Gilbert, there seemed to be no question that Schmidt would be the next chief.

Some council members were even congratulating him before they voted 7-0 to approve. Council member Larry Carney said he was glad to see them promote from within.

Schmidt says it felt like a long time since he started the application process back in June, but he says he's excited to get started.

"First thing I want to do is go around and talk to the different shifts and crews and explain to the personnel what I'm expecting, where I'd like to see us go in the near future, and get everyone on board, that way we're all working as a team," says Schmidt.

He says there are some policy things that need changed right away, and says the interim chiefs held off on those changes because they weren't sure what a permanent chief would want.

The mayor and council recognized those interim chiefs - Tim Hiemer and Russ Blackburn - for their contributions during this past year.

The mayor said they had four times as many applicants for the chief position this time then they did when former chief Troy Hughes was selected for the job.

Schmidt will assume the duties of fire chief on October 1.