Mayor Names Keith Jackson Permanent Fire Chief
Lexington Mayor Jim Gray says he’s looked at the situation and has come to the decision that interim Fire Chief Keith Jackson should hold the job permanently. At a press conference Thursday afternoon at the Fire Training Center, the promotion was made official. Gray credits Jackson’s leadership for turning around a fire department recently overwhelmed by managerial and financial problems.
“Keith has made significant changes and improvements in the fire division by reducing overtime costs by 96 percent, by improving morale, by improving the organizations structure through daily reports and quarterly meetings with the executive in command staff, and by leading and instituting a leadership development program…and he did all of this as interim chief.”
Gray appointed Jackson to the post in March 2011 after unsuccessfully seeking the resignation of Fire Chief Robert Hendricks. The dispute between the city and Hendricks was resolved earlier this month when the former chief rejoined the division as a firefighter and paramedic.
In accepting the permanent position, Chief Jackson says his goal is to take the division to new levels.
“What I want to present to you as the chief of this department is a well-trained, well educated, and a group of men and women that are accountable for every action that we take, because we serve you, the citizens…and as I said we consider ourselves citizen servants.”
Jackson is a 21 year veteran of the force, and is the first African American to serve as Lexington’s Fire Chief.