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New Roseville fire chief to be sworn in Friday

Meet Marcus Reed
By: ToLewis, The Press Tribune
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Roseville will swear in a new fire chief Friday for the third time in less than two years. Marcus Reed was chosen from a field of more than 100 applicants nationwide, largely because of his reputation of creativity and his record with the Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue District in Oregon, according to the city of Roseville. Roseville has gone without a permanent fire chief since Ken Wagner retired in December 2010. Since then, Dean Grundy, previously a battalion chief with the department, filled the position before retiring in June. Wynn Latta, who was previously retired from the Sacramento Metro Fire, stepped up to fill the position temporarily while the city conducted its second nationwide search. Latta was sworn in on July 1. “We are happy to have a permanent one in place now,” said city spokeswoman Megan MacPherson. “But we are very fortunate to have had great interim leadership.” Roseville City Manager Ray Kerridge told the Press Tribune in July that the city did not want to hire just anybody to fill the position, but was focused, rather, on finding the right person for the job, somebody that would fit Roseville. Reed, who grew up in eastern Oregon and has lived there his entire life, said his first exposure to the firefighter lifestyle was when he played baseball at Linfield College in Portland, Ore. “There’s a tradition there that some of the baseball players would stay in the firehouse,” he said. “So that’s really how I got there to start with.” He began his career as a firefighter for the city of Beaverton in 1986 and ended up at Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue when the two districts merged in 1996. Since then, Reed worked his way through the ranks, eventually becoming a battalion chief and ultimately chief of staff in the operations division, essentially running the operations of the organization. “What made me pick Roseville was I did my homework,” Reed said. “I found out it is a very well-run city and really community oriented. But there is also some work to do. There is some opportunity to make things a little better.” Reed’s wife Sara grew up just outside of Nevada City and together, the couple has three children: James, 14, Kennedy, 14, and Fiona, 12. MacPherson said Reed was chosen largely because of his strong track record of leadership and creativity. She said Reed particularly showed strength in analyzing data and using that data to enhance efficiency without sacrificing service. “Everybody is challenged with shrinking budgets,” MacPherson said. “We can’t just do things the way we’ve always done them. We do have to be more creative, but not sacrifice service levels.” Reed said he intends to operate the fire department based on four basic tenets: Safety, performance, customer service and professionalism. “I think those things are already in place, but in some cases, some things might need to be re-emphasized,” Reed said. “But overall, I think we’re just going to take a look at it and ask the question, ‘Why are we doing it this way? Is there a better way to do it?’” Reed said he does not foresee many wholesale changes that need to be made in the department, but rather some analyzing and adjusting to make the department more efficient. “We’re going to have to be creative in terms of how we move forward,” Reed said. “Things are tight and I think the thing I will bring to the group is we’re going to look at data much closer than they have in the past.” Part of that data analysis includes looking at calls for service and whether or not the department is sending the right resource to the right problem, Reed said. “I think we are going to challenge ourselves over the next several years to take a look at that and see if there is a better way to do it,” Reed said. Reed began his post on Feb. 6 with a salary of $172,605 and will be sworn in at a ceremony from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., Friday at the Roseville Theater, 241 Vernon St. Jason Rizzi will also be officially sworn in Friday as the new fire marshal for the Roseville Fire Department. “I feel pretty lucky in terms of the organization I’m coming into,” Reed said. “I think it really has a lot of potential and really good people, and I think we can really build on that.” Toby Lewis can be reached at tobyl@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @TobyLewis_RsvPT.