John Fruetel appointed to chief of Minneapolis Fire Department
John Fruetel, a longtime Minneapolis firefighter, was officially appointed to chief of the department today after a unanimous vote from the City Council.
John Fruetel will succeed former fire chief Alex Jackson, who retired earlier this year amid criticism.
The appointment of Fruetel (that's pronounced FREE-tel, we're told) comes just weeks after embattled former chief Alex Jackson announced he would retire. In his last few months, Jackson was criticized by the Council for how firefighter overtime pay had contributed to the department's budget problems.
In a statement released today, Mayor R.T. Rybak sounds optimistic that Fruetel will bring welcome change to the department.
"John Fruetel is the right leader for this department at the right time. A career Minneapolis firefighter, he will step in immediately with the strength of purpose and ability to lead for which he is well known," he says. "There is also no one more skilled in emergency response: from the collapse of the 35W bridge to the 2011 tornado in North Minneapolis, Chief Fruetel has been there for the residents of Minneapolis in tough times."
Fruetel has been with the department since 1979. In '86, he was promoted to captain, and to battalion chief in 1993. In 2010, Fruetel transitioned to the Emergency Management Division.
"I'm extremely honored that the Mayor nominated me and the City Council has confirmed me as Minneapolis Fire Chief, which is the job I have dreamed about since I was a little boy," says Fruetel in a statement. "I am ready to address the challenges we face and eager to get back to leading this great department and serving the residents of Minneapolis."