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Posted on: December 1, 2022

Mayor Gove Selects Deputy Chief James Nolan as New Chief of Amesbury Fire Department

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Mayor Kassandra Gove is pleased to announce that Deputy Chief James Nolan has been selected to serve as Chief of the Amesbury Fire Department (AFD). Chief Nolan has been holding the position of Interim Chief as the City conducted its search. This decision comes after the June 2022 retirement of former Chief Kenneth Berkenbush. 

Deputy Chief Nolan started with Amesbury Fire Rescue in 1995 as a part-time call-in Firefighter. Nolan became a full-time Firefighter/EMT in 1997, then held the role of Acting Lieutenant from 2012-2013. In June 2014 he was promoted to Lieutenant, and in July 2015 was promoted again to Acting Deputy Chief. In 2019 Nolan was promoted to his current role of Deputy Fire Chief / Fire Prevention Officer. Chief Nolan holds a Bachelor of Science in Fire Administration and is currently enrolled in a Master of Public Administration program. He will be the 6th Fire Chief for the City of Amesbury since the position was created in 1978.

The hiring process included a comprehensive assessment and interviews coordinated by a contracted outside agency, John Parow Consulting & Associates, a professional consulting company who specializes in Fire Chief recruitment and promotional assessment centers for Massachusetts municipal fire departments. The evaluation included an internal survey with AFD staff to gain input from current employees on what they are looking for in a Chief and the current needs of the department. Additionally, the top five qualified candidates participated in a multi-day assessment facilitated by John Parow Consulting. The final two highest scoring candidates participated in a panel interview that included community stakeholders and City management employees that interact with the Fire Chief on a regular basis. The Mayor then made her decision based on all recommendations and input provided. Nolan’s contract as Chief is currently being negotiated and his appointment will be presented to the City Council at an upcoming meeting.

The Mayor and the City of Amesbury would like to thank Retired Fire Chief Bill Shute for taking on the temporary role of Chief Administrative Officer during the time the search for a new permanent Fire Chief took place. His experience and expertise helped make sure the transition from the retirement of former Fire Chief Berkenbush went smoothly. Chief Bill Shute served the Amesbury Fire Department for 35 years prior to his retirement in 2008, including his final five years as chief. Although we know he won’t be going far, he will be returning to retirement effective December 2nd.

Mayor Gove said, “I want to thank John Parow Consulting & Associates, all candidates who applied to join our team, and the community members who assisted with our hiring process. A thorough and professional process ensures that we have the best candidate on board to lead the Amesbury Fire Department. Chief Nolan is known for his work ethic and commitment to our community and the department. He has proven he has the skills to take on his new role and I look forward to working with him in his new capacity.”

“It is a great honor to have been chosen as the Fire Chief of the Amesbury Fire Department. AFD is a very dynamic and growing department. Working with the men and women of the department and the residents and businesses of the City of Amesbury is very rewarding but can also be a challenge to keep everything balanced. As we continue to make strides in the post-COVID world, I look forward to finding solutions to the challenges that are presented to me and the department as a whole.”, said Chief Nolan.

John Parow Consulting & Associates
 John Parow Consulting & Associates is a Chelmsford Massachusetts-based public safety consulting firm and provider of Fire executive search services. The founder, John Parrow, has over 25 years of experience in Municipal Promotional Assessment Centers and has been involved with conducting executive searches since 2014. He has served 25 years as Fire Chief in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and served as President and Chairman of the Board of the International Association of Fire Chiefs. John Parow Consulting & Associates provides a comprehensive means of selecting an individual to perform all the duties required of a Fire Chief.

John Parow Consulting & Associates has handled Fire Chief recruitment for Pepperell, Fitchburg, Beverly, Manchester by the Sea, West Bridgewater, Dracut, and more.

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