New CFD Chief wants to improve morale

CFD has been plagued by low morale following issues and compalints about the department. the new chief wants to change that.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Charlotte has a new interim Fire Chief tonight.

Chief Pete Key says he is a people person and will work to unite the department that has been plagued by complaints of low morale.

Key will take over the department in a couple of works when the current Chief Jon Hannan retires.

Hannan was nearly forced out after he was disciplined for leaking a department document to a news reporter.

Hannan's tenure also included the successful lawsuit filed by former department employee Crystal Eschert.

She was awarded over $1 million by a jury that found she had been wrongfully terminated for being a whistleblower.

The new Chief says he is a people person and wants to communicate with everyone in the department, especially his other officers.

"Sometimes things get sideways but this is where the Captains come in with intervention and can keep the company moving forward in a positive fashion," Key said.

The London high rise fire has many looking to the construction booming all over Charlotte now.

Chief Key said the department and inspectors are working to make sure each new development is safe.

"Not only when the building is completed but prior to the building being completed, we are going to insure that they have adequate water for the structure.  We are going to make sure the fire protection system is being installed and check step by step by step."

Forty years Keys wasn't really interested in being a firefighter, but he was unemployed and signed up, thinking it could be a springboard to something else.

It did. He was pretty good at the job and tonight he is the new Chief.

"I love it and I've got tremendous passion for it and I'm going to encourage firefighters to do what they want and let them know they can be what they want to be also."

© 2017 WCNC.COM


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