Anchorage looking for new fire chief

June 7, 2018 by  

After three years as Anchorage’s fire chief, Denis LeBlanc retired recently. Jodie Hettrick, who currently serves as the deputy chief of operations at the fire department, is taking over until the Mayor Berkowitz can make a permanent appointment. That should come within a few weeks, according to the mayor’s spokeswoman, Kristin DeSmith.

The 70-year-old LeBlanc told the administration early in May that he planned to retire, saying that although he enjoyed his job, he has been working for over five decades, including years in the oil industry, and felt it was time to go.

LeBlanc was working for CH2M and Jacobs, which at the time was CH2MHill, as the engineering company’s director of operations and maintenance on the North Slope, when Berkowitz tapped him for the position as fire chief.

LeBlanc has worked for the city before; early in the 2000s, he was a budget consultant to the Anchorage Fire Department, and served as the city’s budget director for a time. He has also been the Anchorage City Manager.

When LeBlanc took over the fire department, it was struggling with its budget. LeBlanc dropped some operations, enabling the department to finish under-budget by about $500,000 in 2017. He also restructured the department to enable it to focus on emergency medicine, which is the type of call the department receives most frequently.

Occasions like this are the perfect time for the city to present corporate gifts to a retiree.