Niles Ford, 48, a veteran urban administrator, career paramedic and former Lincoln, Neb. fire chief, has been selected to run the Baltimore Fire Department, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced Dec. 30.

“I believe we have found a dedicated public servant with a proven track record of results,” Rawlings-Blake said of Ford. “He has spent the last 20-plus years working in fire departments in multiple capacities and when he wasn’t working Dr. Ford continued to grow professionally.”

His most recent post was city manager of Chamblee, Ga. and, four years after serving as deputy fire chief in Atlanta was fire chief in Lincoln from 2007 to 2011.

He began his public safety career in 1991 as a dispatcher, became a firefighter in 1992 and a paramedic in 1996 at the Bessemer Fire and Rescue in Bessemer, Ala. Ford was also deputy fire chief in Fulton County, Ga.

“His career has been spent driving the type of organizational change that I believe is necessary to continue the positive reforms that we’ve seen in Baltimore and to meet the challenges that we face in the future,” the mayor said.

“I am truly humbled by this opportunity to serve,” said Ford. “I have long had a strong appreciation for this great city, specifically its Fire Department. To now have the opportunity to serve as fire chief is a responsibility I take very seriously and I pledge to use every ounce of my experience from the past 20 years to keep moving this department forward.”

Ford has a doctoral degree in organization and management from Capella University and a master’s degree in management from Faulkner University.

If his appointment is confirmed by the city council, Ford is to begin work on Jan. 22. His salary is to be $165,000.


Blair Adams

AFRO Staff Writer