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December 26, 2023

Mayor-elect Cherelle Parker names Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel as city's next managing director

The incoming administration continues to take shape as next week's inauguration grows near. The new police chief and other appointees already have been announced

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Parker Thiel Philly KATE FRESE/for PhillyVoice

Adam Thiel will be Philadelphia's managing director under Mayor-elect Cherelle Parker. Thiel most recently served as the commissioner of the fire department and director of city's Office of Emergency Management.

Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam K. Thiel will serve as Cherelle Parker's managing director when she becomes mayor on Jan. 2. 

As managing director, Thiel will oversee the operations of city agencies and work with Parker to fill key positions in her administration. Tumar Alexander has served in that role under Mayor Jim Kenney since October 2020.

Parker has not named a new commissioner for the fire department.

Thiel became the head of the city's fire department in 2016, when he was appointed by Kenney. He also served as director of the city's Office of Emergency Management from 2019-2022, helping coordinate the city's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thiel played a visible role in the investigation of the Fairmount rowhome fire that killed 12 people, including nine children, in January 2022. The probe drew attention to the conditions of public housing and the need for more diligent inspections of smoke detectors, which were found to have been inoperable. He said the city had been proactive about installing newer-model smoke alarms that are more tamper-proof and have lithium-ion batteries that last longer than older units.

Under Thiel's lead, the city also reopened fire stations that had been closed for years due to funding shortfalls. 

Prior to joining the Philadelphia Fire Department, Thiel served in various government roles in Virginia, including as chief of the fire department in Alexandria.

Parker has made several appointments in the lead-up to her inauguration. Kevin Bethel, the former chief of school safety, has been named as the city's next police commissioner. Tiffany Thurman will serve as Parker's chief of staff, Sinceré Harris will be the chief deputy mayor of intergovernmental affairs, sustainability and engagement, and Aren Platt will be the chief deputy mayor of planning and strategic initiatives.