New fire chief approved

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published January 27, 2021

 Kevin Edmond, Sterling Heights’ soon-to-be fire chief, speaks at a Jan. 19 Sterling Heights City Council meeting. Edmond is scheduled to begin his new role March 1.

Kevin Edmond, Sterling Heights’ soon-to-be fire chief, speaks at a Jan. 19 Sterling Heights City Council meeting. Edmond is scheduled to begin his new role March 1.

Photo provided via Sterling Heights Television

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STERLING HEIGHTS — While “Hail to the Chief” was not played, Sterling Heights picked a new leader the day before the presidential inauguration, one to head the city’s Fire Department.

On Jan. 19, the Sterling Heights City Council unanimously voted to make Kevin Edmond the new fire chief. Edmond will formally start March 1. His salary will be $133,692, according to Melanie Davis, the city’s community relations director.

Sterling Heights’ previous fire chief, Chris Martin, retired in September 2020 after serving in the department for 31 years. After he retired, Sterling Heights officials did a national search to find a successor.

City Manager Mark Vanderpool said the search found three candidates from within the Fire Department as well as three out-of-state candidates who underwent assessment last October. The top three candidates among those met City Council members for discussions in December, Vanderpool added. Then Vanderpool picked Edmond from among those who interviewed for City Council confirmation.  

Vanderpool explained that Edmond has an associate’s degree and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Akron. Purdue University Global gave Edmond a master’s degree in  public administration with applied research in emergency management.

And according to Sterling Heights officials, Edmond most recently has been a fire chief for Illinois’ Collinsville Fire Department. He started as a firefighter in Ohio in 1990 and climbed the ranks. Among his other credentials, he directed Lakeland Community College’s paramedic program, officials said.

Vanderpool said Edmond will collaborate with city officials and other stakeholders to devise a five-year strategic plan for the Fire Department. The city manager also mentioned Sterling Heights’ accomplishment of being one of the top fire departments in the state with an Insurance Services Organization rating of 2.

“We are rated among the best in the state, but it may be possible to increase the ISO rating to 1,” Vanderpool said. “Mr. Edmond believes this may be a worthy goal to pursue.”  

When it was time for the City Council to speak, Councilwoman Barbara Ziarko said all six applicants were qualified and talented, but she added that Vanderpool could only interview the top three due to the city charter.

Councilman Michael Radtke said he was impressed with the “give and take” he had with Edmond, and he predicted that the new chief will do an “awesome job.” Mayor Pro Tem Liz Sierawski said Edmond stood out.

“It was refreshing to have somebody who’s been in the business a long time still have innovative new ideas and to be energized and to really want to work with a whole different group of people,” she said.

Councilwoman Deanna Koski said the Fire Department’s “young, eager firefighters” will benefit from Edmond’s abilities and experience.

“I understand that you like to teach, so we’re going to let you have as much fun as you want,” Koski said. “And I’m very pleased that you would consider working to get us an ISO rating of 1 because that will help our insurance rates.”

Mayor Michael Taylor said he has met with many of the city’s firefighters over the past decade, adding that the department has a culture and a sense of pride. He added that the city generally swears in a few new firefighters every few months.

“We have a young department, and you can tell that they have that hunger and that energy to continue serving the residents the way that people had who have come before them have done it here,” the mayor said.

Edmond said he looks forward to collaborating with city leaders, the Fire Department and the community.

“I can’t tell you what fascinating things are going to happen and what the future holds, but I’m really excited to be here,” he said.

Find out more about Sterling Heights by visiting www.sterling-heights.net or by calling (586) 446-2489.

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