OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – MAY 17: Reginald Freeman is pictured at his swearing-in ceremony as Oakland City Fire Chief on Monday, May 17, 2021 in Oakland, CA. (Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group)
OAKLAND — Reginald Freeman announced Wednesday that he will be retiring as Oakland Fire Chief to pursue a high-level job in the private sector.
Freeman is only two weeks into his second year as fire chief, but in a department-wide email, Freeman said his last date was June 22, before he assumed his new “C-level” position. Said it would be one day. .
“This was a painful and very difficult decision, but one made collectively as a family,” the Chief said in an email. It has been my absolute honor to serve with you, and thank you for making me a better person.
The resignation of the mayor left Oakland with more vacancies at the city’s top level after police chief Leron Armstrong was sacked in February and former city administrator Ed Raiskin stepped down.
As per procedure, the Interim Fire Chief will start working the day after Freeman leaves the office. Historically, mayors and city administrators have either appointed internal candidates as permanent replacements or conducted national surveys.
Freeman is coming to Oakland in 2021 after five years as a fire chief in Hartford, Connecticut. He previously served as fire chief for the defense company Lockheed his Martin and in the 2000s as a fire chief in Iraq for the US Department of Defense.
The years before Freeman joined to lead the Oakland Fire Department saw much controversy over the fire department’s inspection standards. Last year, a city audit found that many fire inspectors were not actively holding the qualifications listed in their job requirements.
At the time, the chief said the issue at hand existed prior to his arrival, noting the progress the department had made in complying with state policy.