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City working to hire second deputy fire chief

After doing without a second deputy fire chief for more than a year, city Fire and Paramedic Services Chief Joseph Nicholls said ‘it was time’ the city finally fill the vacancy
The City of Greater Sudbury is currently hiring a new deputy fire chief. Applications are due Feb. 14. 

The City of Greater Sudbury is in the process of hiring a second deputy fire chief, with an application deadline of Feb. 14 set.

They’ve gone without a deputy chief since November 2021, when Richard Renaud vacated the position, but city Fire and Paramedic Services Chief Joseph Nicholls said “it was time” they finally filled the vacancy.

“I've made the decision to go back to a two-deputy model so that we can have a deputy focusing on some important initiatives, such as our volunteers, volunteer training and things like that,” he said. “There's a huge amount of work to be done in the fire service.”

While he contends an alternative staffing model wherein they did without a second deputy chief for the past year has worked overall, it created gaps that need addressing.

Prior to his departure in November 2021, the city’s former deputy chief, Richard Renaud, oversaw the volunteer portfolio, fire prevention and public education efforts.

Under the one-deputy chief model, Nicholls said too much pressure has been placed on Deputy Chief Jesse Oshell.

“He's working day and night, so we need somebody else who can support him and they can support each other and focus on significant strategic issues that are facing the fire service.”

It’s a particularly busy time for Greater Sudbury Fire Services.

Late last year, a report by Operational Research in Health Ltd. commissioned by the city recommended the consolidation of several volunteer fire stations. The public will be consulted on the proposal during a series of community meetings in the coming months.

At the same time, the city is also contending with an ongoing volunteer shortage, expanded training requirements and a union that believes the city has been mismanaging the steps taken to meet the new requirements.

At the end of 2021, the city counted its complement of volunteer firefighters at 273 following a successful recruitment drive in which 64 new hires came on board. 

Nicholls said this number is now just greater than 200, which is roughly where they were at in 2020, and that the department is currently mapping out how they’ll ramp up this year’s recruitment efforts, which the second deputy chief is expected to play a role in.

“There's no shortage of work,” Nicholls said. “Having the support of an extra deputy will be important to move the organization forward.”

The deputy fire chief position carries a pay range of $138,998.16 to $163,644.39, and Nicholls clarified that this hiring process will not affect tax rates because the job is already budgeted for, as it has been for at least the past several years.

Click here to see the city’s job posting for the position, for which applications are due by 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 14.

Renaud served Greater Sudbury as deputy chief for six months up to November 2021. According to his Linkedin page, he went on to work as fire safety officer for Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario before beginning a job as director of Emergency Services and fire chief for the Town of Penetanguishene and Town of Midland on Jan. 23.

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for


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Tyler Clarke

About the Author: Tyler Clarke

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for
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