Mayor chooses interim fire chief

Mayor R.T. Rybak picked Alex Jackson as the interim Minneapolis Fire Chief.

If confirmed, Jackson, a 27-year-veteran, would be the Department’s third fire chief in two years.

He will replace outgoing Chief Jim Clack, soon to be the new chief in Baltimore, on March 29.

“Chief Clack was a friend and colleague, and I will miss working with him,” Jackson said. “I am deeply honored that the mayor has chosen me to lead the Fire Department during this transition, and I will do my best to ensure that we keep our focus on protecting public safety.”

Jackson, 50, was chosen from a pool including the Department’s other Assistant Chief John Fruetel and eight deputy chiefs.

According to a city job posting, the ideal candidate for the permanent position would be “a strategic thinker and problem solver.”

Prior to becoming assistant chief, Jackson served as deputy chief of personnel, fire captain, fire motor operator and firefighter, according to a prepared city statement.

Rybak said he believed Jackson will make the transition seamlessly.

“I am confident that we can have a seamless transition to continue our aggressive focus on keeping Minneapolis safe,” he said.

Jackson’s appointment is scheduled to be confirmed at the March 26 Minneapolis Executive Committee meeting, which
Rybak chairs. Jackson will serve until a permanent chief is named. Mayor Rybak will interview candidates in mid-April and has plans to nominate a new permanent fire chief later that month.

The City Council has to approve of the nominee before he or she is made
permanent.

The fire chief oversees all operational and financial functions of the department, including managing a staff of 450 and an operating budget of more than $50 million, according to the city’s website.