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April 08, 2016

Reports: Mayor Kenney to name new fire commissioner

Mayor Jim Kenney has decided who will be the next head of the Philadelphia Fire Department, according to multiple reports.

Deputy Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security in Virginia Adam K. Thiel has been tabbed to replace current Fire Commissioner Derrick J.V. Sawyer, who was appointed by Michael Nutter in June 2014. Thiel has served in his current role since February 2014.

Prior to Thiel's latest position, he served as the Fire Chief of the City of Alexandria, Virginia, from 2007 to 2014.

One local group voiced its displeasure with the decision.

6ABC reported that Club Valiants, the local chapter of the International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters, announced it would oppose the appointment releasing the following statement:

"Club Valiants is displeased with Mayor Kenney's decision to replace Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer.

While we respect the mayor exercising his prerogative to choose his own administration, we do not believe that there is justification for removing an effective leader with a stellar record.

In Commissioner Sawyer's tenure, Philadelphia has experienced its lowest recorded annual fire death rate in its entire history.

It appears to our organization that the motivation behind removing Commissioner Sawyer goes far beyond improving the department or changing its leadership's perspective."

After his election, Kenney announced that a move was possible and that Sawyer would continue as acting commissioner until a national search was completed.

An official announcement on the appointment has yet to be made.