Fire Chief Alex Jackson to Retire, Mayor Rybak to Nominate John Fruetel New Fire Chief
Mayor praises Jackson’s leadership, distinguished service; cites Fruetel’s experience, readiness
January 4, 2012 (MINNEAPOLIS) — Minneapolis Fire Chief Alex Jackson announced today that he is retiring after more than 30 years of service to the Minneapolis Fire Department and the residents of Minneapolis. Mayor Rybak announced that he will nominate John Fruetel (FREE-tel) to succeed him.
Chief Jackson’s last day as chief will be February 29, 2012. Mayor Rybak will nominate John Fruetel to be the next fire chief at the next meeting of the City’s Executive Committee on January 11, 2012.
In a letter to Mayor Rybak and City Council members, Chief Jackson said, “After 30 years of service to the citizens of Minneapolis, including three as fire chief, I have made the decision to retire. Serving as chief of the MFD, as well as being the first African American fire chief in the history of the department, has been one of my greatest achievements and honors. I would like to thank all of you for giving me the opportunity to serve in this capacity.”
Mayor Rybak said, “I have enjoyed working with Chief Jackson and am disappointed that he has made the decision to retire. He has made a tremendous contribution to the City, not only as chief but as a career Minneapolis firefighter. He has been a good leader for the Fire Department, particularly during some difficult challenges and emergencies. We all owe him a debt of gratitude, and I will miss him.”
City Council Member Don Samuels, chair of the Public Safety, Civil Rights and Health Committee, said, “Chief Jackson inherited a storm of problems, including challenges to morale and an extremely difficult economic climate. He brought his long experience to bear in keeping our residents safe, improving relationships in the department and responding effectively to emergencies, including to last May’s devastating tornado in North Minneapolis. His impact as chief, including as the first African American fire chief in Minneapolis’ history, will long be felt. He has done a great job and I was hoping that he would stay to see the changes that he has made bear fruit, but I wish him the very best.”
John Fruetel: Experienced, Ready
Mayor Rybak announced that he will nominate John Fruetel as the next chief of the Fire Department. Fruetel is a former Minneapolis firefighter of 31 years who retired in 2010 as assistant chief and currently serves the City of Minneapolis as Emergency Preparedness Training Manager.
“John Fruetel is knowledgeable and experienced in all aspects of the Fire Department and is ready to step in immediately and be a hands-on leader. He has also demonstrated great skill in helping to lead our response to emergencies, including the collapse of the 35W bridge and the North Minneapolis tornado,” Mayor Rybak said.
City Council President Barbara Johnson said, “John Fruetel is a good choice: he is a proven leader who was a strong candidate for fire chief in the past. He has certainly demonstrated his mettle with his work on tornado relief.”
Fruetel said, “I’m honored that Mayor Rybak will nominate me as Minneapolis fire chief, which is a job that I have dreamed about since I was a little boy. This is an awesome responsibility that is all about serving the community. I look forward to leading the department and serving the residents of Minneapolis.”
Published Jan. 4, 2012