Pitt Meadows fire chief Don Jolley has retired. (Contributed)

Pitt Meadows fire chief retires

Don Jolley bows out amid city hiring two full-time firefighters.

Pitt Meadows fire chief Don Jolley has retired, effective Friday.

Jolley had taken a leave of absence since early November. He was to be off for a month, but extended the leave until Jan. 2, then on Friday announced he will retire.

In his absence, assistant chiefs Brad Perrie and Mike Larsson have been alternating as acting fire chief of the department.

City CAO Mark Roberts said it was Jolley’s decision to retire, and he did not give a reason.

“Chief Jolley has provided excellent service to the city over the years,” said Roberts, adding that he is knowledgeable both as a firefighter and former paramedic, and has led a “productive and efficient fire department that serves the city of Pitt Meadows very well.”

Mayor Bill Dingwall, elected in October, has been public about his desire to see more full-time firefighters added to the Pitt Meadows fire hall.

Jolley has been an advocate for, and defender of, the paid-on-call model the city employs to staff the fire hall, and former councillor Janis Elkerton questioned his absence.

However, at last Monday’s special meeting, council heard that Jolley had requested two more full-time firefighters be hired.

Roberts said senior staff is going into budget deliberations, starting on Monday evening, with a recommendation that council approve hiring two more full-time fire service technicians.

“Preservation of the paid-on-call model he has endorsed fully over the years will continue,” said Roberts.

After the hirings, the city will have seven full-time firefighters, including chiefs and assistant chiefs, and 29 paid-on-call members.

Roberts said he will contemplate the next steps in consultation with the assistant fire chiefs and the human resources department.

Jolley was effectively an in-house hire, with a lot of experience in Pitt Meadows.

Jolley was hired as fire chief in Pitt Meadows in June 2008.

Prior to that, he was an assistant and deputy fire chief for more than five years, from 2001 to 2006, during which time he also worked as a paramedic. He worked as a deputy fire chief in Langley City in 2006-2008. He is also the first vice-president of the Fire Chiefs Association of B.C.

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