War­ren makes his­toric ap­point­ment

Fire Com­mis­sioner Wil­burt McA­dams is first African-Amer­i­can to head a depart­ment.

The Detroit News - - Metro - By Christina Sto­larz

WAR­REN — Mayor Jim Fouts an­nounced the his­toric ap­point­ment of for­mer Pon­tiac Fire Chief Wil­burt “Skip” McA­dams as the new fire com­mis­sioner, mak­ing him the first African-Amer­i­can to head a city depart­ment in War­ren.

McA­dams also is the first fire com­mis­sioner with a mas­ter’s de­gree, Fouts said.

“He is highly qual­i­fied. He is highly ed­u­cated,” Fouts said. “He will do an out­stand­ing job. He rep­re­sents change, and I think that’s what this ad­min­is­tra­tion is all about.”

McA­dams, 48, was rec­om­mended for the po­si­tion by War­ren Po­lice Com­mis­sioner William Dwyer.

Dwyer had served as in­terim fire com­mis­sioner — without ad­di­tional pay — since Sept. 12, when Fouts fired Robert Vought for what he said was Vought’s fail­ure to re­duce ex­ces­sive over­time and im­prove depart­ment morale.

McA­dams was hired to al­le­vi­ate those prob­lems and re­store the city’s emer­gency med­i­cal ser­vices trans­port pro­gram. Fouts noted that McA­dams cut over- time by 10 per­cent in Pon­tiac.

“This is a chal­lenge and op­por­tu­nity,” McA­dams said. “We can be suc­cess­ful. This is a team ef­fort, and that team-build­ing be­gins to­day.”

McA­dams, who will make $111,125, said he plans to es­tab­lish a good work­ing re­la­tion­ship with the 147-mem­ber depart­ment and the ad­min­is­tra- tion.

“This is heaven-sent, some­body … that’s in­ter­ested in the union and to make sure every­one gets a fair shake,” said Deputy Fire Chief Larry McCuen, who’s been with the depart­ment for 29 years.

McA­dams worked his way up the ranks in Pon­tiac be­fore re­tir­ing in De­cem­ber.

Fire­fighter Scott Hal­leck said he’s thrilled that McA­dams started his ca­reer as a fire­fighter.

“It takes a man like that to know what fire­fight­ers need,” said Hal­leck, pres­i­dent of the War­ren Pro­fes­sional Fire Fight­ers Lo­cal 1383.

“That’s para­mount for morale. It’s time. We needed a change.”

The Fire Depart­ment has an es­ti­mated $21.9 mil­lion bud­get. You can reach Christina Sto­larz at (586) 468-0343 or csto­[email protected]­news.com.


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