On Monday, Redmond Mayor John Marchione as the city's next fire chief. Donnelly is currently fire chief of Lodi, Calif., and has 25 years of experience as a firefighter, captain and chief.
Redmond Patch spoke with Donnelly via telephone Wednesday afternoon about his experience in California and vision for Redmond's . The following are excerpts from that conversation.
Redmond Patch: Why did you decide to apply to be chief of the Redmond Fire Department?
Donnelly: My wife and I were looking at where else we would want to live. The Seattle area and down the West Coast was a primary spot. The size of Redmond was very comparable to where we are here. It wasn’t in a big city but close to a big city. So I said, 'You know, let me see about this.' The more I found about (the position), the more I thought, 'Wow, this would be a really great fit.' So then it just became a process of whether they would accept me.
Redmond Patch: What is your vision for the Redmond Fire Department going forward?
Donnelly: My vision is that I can integrate into the department and help facilitate what they need. I need to learn from them and learn from the community. I’m more willing to listen to what they see because they’re living it. I think it’s a very well-run department. I’m very impressed with everybody I met up there, and I would just like to be part of that.
Redmond Patch: How does a fire department best serve a growing city like Redmond?
Donnelly: I think that growth in any community adds challenges, both in the construction and development part of it, as well as providing the ongoing (fire) service. Some of the challenges with growth are resource-based, and I’m hoping that I can help work in that way to make sure we have the solutions and the resources to address those issues. The Redmond Fire Department has a very well-established commitment to the community, and going forward, I’m just hoping to keep that going.
Redmond Patch: You have experience as a union leader. How does it shape your perspective as a fire chief?
Donnelly: I've spent most of my career in Lodi. I've spent time on the executive board of the union, and I've spent time as the treasurer and president. I helped lead that group through some times that have been difficult, and I enjoy a very good working relationship with the union. I believe working together we can do more than we can apart.
Redmond Patch: What are you most looking forward to about living in Redmon?
Donnelly: We (my wife and I) just like to get outside, and we like being near the water. The beautiful green trees and fresh air is something that appeals to us. We love to travel, too, so we’re looking forward to spending time exploring that part of the country.
About Kevin Donnelly:
Lives in: Lodi, Calif.
Education: bachelor’s degree in public safety management, California State University
Family: married to Cathy Donnelly, three adult children, six grandchildren