Warren makes historic appointment
Fire Commissioner Wilburt McAdams is first African-American to head a department.
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.