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Mayor Berry Announces Permanent Appointment Of Fire Chief David Downey

Firefighter who came up through the ranks to lead AFD

March 11, 2014

Albuquerque- Today Mayor Richard J. Berry announced that he will make permanent the appointment of David Downey as the Albuquerque Fire Department’s (AFD) Chief. Downey is a career public servant who has been with AFD for 20 years. Over the last two months, he has served as the interim chief following Chief James Breen’s retirement at the end of last year.

Since being appointed, he has led AFD during a period of negotiations between the administration and the fire department union which resulted in the first firefighter pay increase in several years, as well as a reform of the practice of union time which distributes the cost among union members. While serving as AFD’s Deputy Chief, he was responsible for department operations, the emergency response division, along with all health and safety programs. He has been instrumental in improved incident command and radio communications’ functions as a result of his involvement in the department’s professional development program. Downey is a recent graduate of the prestigious National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program.

Mayor Berry selected him for the top spot because of his impressive history in the department and his steady leadership as interim chief. “Chief Downey’s management of AFD over the last couple of months has reinforced my impression of his abilities as an outstanding public safety leader,” said Mayor Berry. “I’m excited that he has officially agreed to accept the job and know that the people of Albuquerque and the men and women of the fire department will continue to be well-served with him at the helm.”

“I’m honored to accept the position as Chief of the Albuquerque Fire Department and am grateful for the opportunity to lead the organization in which I started my career as a firefighter many years ago,” said Chief Downey. “I intend to continue to build upon our many successes to date which have transformed AFD into a premiere emergency response agency.” As he stated when first appointed as interim chief, his priorities will include the continued expansion of advanced life support emergency medical services, completing the work necessary for improving internal systems, and ensuring firefighters are trained and equipped so that their safety and services to the community are maximized.

With his appointment, Chief Downey will be the Albuquerque Fire Department’s 21st career fire chief since the early 1900s. He will earn an annual salary of $125,000.