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City of Torrance
Class Code: 7119

Class Designation: Civil Service

May 2008

Representation Unit: Executive and Management Employees


Fire Chief


Under general administrative direction, plans, organizes, and directs the activities of the Fire Department. Represents the Department to City management, the City Council and the community; and performs related work as required.

Distinguishing Characteristics

The Fire Chief is directly responsible to the City Manager for the performance of duties. The Fire Chief is distinguished from the Fire Division Chief or the Fire Battalion Chief in that the Fire Chief is responsible for managing the entire department rather than a specific division or section.  Work is accomplished within a broad framework, with sole authority and responsibility for a broad service area. Discretion is involved in applying goal and policy statements and in resolving complex organizational and technological problems.
Supervision Exercised/Received
Receives general administrative direction from the City Manager; exercises direct supervision over the Fire Division Chief, Fire Battalion Chief, professional positions and office support personnel.
Examples Of Duties
The following duties represent the principal job duties, however, they are not all inclusive. 
  • Plans, organizes, coordinates, and directs through the Fire Division Chief and Fire Battalion Chiefs all City fire service functions, including fire prevention and inspection, fire suppression, disaster preparedness, paramedic services, maintenance of appropriate records, and related support services;
  • Prepares and recommends long-range plans for fire and emergency medical service programs; develops proposals for action on current and future needs;
  • Makes final interpretations of City regulations and various ordinances, related to fire safety and hazardous material codes and applicable laws to ensure compliance;
  • Serves as the principal liaison between the Fire Department and other City departments;
  • Coordinates the preparation of a wide variety of reports or presentations for City management or outside agencies.
  • Monitors developments related to fire service matters, evaluates their impact on City operations, and implements policy and procedure improvements;
  • Manages and directs the development, implementation, and evaluation of plans, policies, and procedures to achieve annual goals, objectives focused on achieving the City's mission and City Council's priorities;
  • Plans, organizes, directs, and evaluates the performance of subordinate staff and their assigned staff as well as coaches for improvement and development;
  • Establishes performance requirements and personal development goals; takes disciplinary action to address performance deficiencies;
  • Directs the development of and monitors performance against the annual department budget;
  • Represents the department in employee relations matters, including the meet and confer process and grievance proceedings;
  • Monitors relevant industry developments, evaluates their impact on City operations, and implements policy and procedure improvements;
  • Advises the City Council, City Manager, and others on departmental issues;
  • Attends various City Council, Commission, City staff and community meetings as required.
  • Examples of Other Duties

    The following duties represent duties that are generally performed by this position, but are not considered to be principal job duties:
  • Conducts and attends meetings as required;
  • Participates on external committees, boards, and task forces as appropriate;
  • Attends and participates in professional group meetings;
  • Responds to citizen inquiries and resolves difficult and sensitive complaints;
  • Performs related duties as required.
  • Minimum Qualifications

    Knowledge of
  • Principles, practices and techniques of fire department administration, organization and operations, and their applicability to specific situations;
  • Advanced methods and techniques of fire fighting, fire apparatus and equipment, training, emergency medical services and fire suppression and prevention, and handling hazardous materials and situations;
  • Rules and regulations of the Torrance fire Department;
  • Principles and practices of public administration and the preparation and administration of departmental budget;
  • Local, State and national safety codes, ordinances and laws;
  • Management and supervisory principles and practices to including personnel selection, training, evaluation, and discipline;
  • Employee relations, including the meet and confer process, grievance procedures, and contract interpretation and administration;
  • City ordinances and administrative rules and regulations affecting departmental operations and personnel matters;
  • Applicable Federal, State and local regulations;
  • General City operations. 
  • Ability to
  • Plan and coordinate the operation of a large municipal fire department;
  • Plan, organize, assign, coordinate and manage the activities of professional and support staff and outside contractors;
  • Analyze and direct emergency operations and size up situations quickly and adopt effective courses of action;
  • Analyze fire service problems and develop workable solutions, policies, and procedures;
  • Analyze complex issues and identify alternative solutions, project consequences of proposed actions and implement recommendations in support of goals;
  • Develop and administer a large departmental budget;
  • Develop, understand, interpret laws and execute rules, regulations, policies and procedures;
  • Interpret and apply Memorandums of Understanding, City ordinances, and administrative rules and regulations affecting departmental operations and personnel matters;
  • Present proposals and recommendations clearly and logically in public meetings;
  • Communicate effectively orally and in writing;
  • Develop and evaluate management practices and procedures;
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with the City Council, officials, other department heads, staff, private and community organizations, and others encountered in the course of work. 
  • License and Certificate 

    Possession of an appropriate valid California driver's license.

    Education and Experience

    Any combination of education and experience that provides the required knowledge and skills is qualifying.  A typical way to obtain the necessary knowledge and abilities is:
    Ten years fire service experience and current rank of Fire Division Chief, Fire Battalion Chief or Fire Captain following the successful completion of the probationary period; and equivalent to high school graduation.  The possession of an AA degree in Fire Science or a related field from a college of recognized standing may be substituted for one year of the required experience.  The possession of a Bachelor's degree in Fire Science/Public Administration or a related field may be substituted for two years of the required experience.  Master's degree in Fire Science/ Public Administration or a related field may be substituted for three years of the required experience.
    Special Requirements 
    Performance of the essential duties of this position includes the following physical demands and/or working conditions:
    Requires the ability to exert a small amount of physical effort in sedentary to light work involving moving from one area of the office to another; requires sufficient hand/eye coordination to perform repetitive movements, such as computers and calculators. Tasks require sounds and visual perception and discrimination, as well as oral communications ability.