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Acting Chief Is Named to Fire Post : Services: Richard Hinz, a 27-year veteran, will head the department. He has been in the position since October.

December 05, 1991|SHERRY JOE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Veteran Glendale firefighter Richard Hinz, who has been acting chief since October, has been chosen to head the Fire Department permanently, city officials announced Wednesday.

Hinz will replace Chief John M. Montenero, who resigned in October to head the Santa Monica Fire Department. Hinz was named acting chief upon Montenero's departure.

"This is the fruition and culmination of my career," said Hinz, 52, who will supervise a 200-person department that includes nine fire stations and administers an annual budget of about $19 million. The post pays $8,255 a month, including retirement benefits.

Hinz said he does not have any immediate plans to introduce changes in the department he has served for 27 years. "I'll do a great deal of listening to my staff," he added.

At a press conference Wednesday, city officials praised Hinz for his hands-on management style.

"He's always on the line when there's a fire," Mayor Ginger Bremberg said. "He doesn't manage from a distance."

Hinz, whose father was a firefighter, began his career as a volunteer firefighter in Ventura County. He joined the Glendale Fire Department in 1962, rising to the rank of assistant fire chief. In 1979, he was instrumental in arranging Verdugo Communications, a dispatch system that links the Glendale department with those of neighboring Burbank and Pasadena.

In contrast to the nationwide search for a new police chief, which ended last month, City Manager David Ramsay said the two-month search for a new fire chief was restricted to candidates from within the department. Hinz was selected from among four candidates.

"We stressed continuity," Ramsay said. "He was the right person for the right time. The Fire Department, like the rest of the city, is in for some rough times, . . . and it's time for someone with experience and credibility."

The city's new police chief, James E. Anthony, was selected from more than 50 applicants nationwide. That search began after Chief David J. Thompson announced in June that he wanted to retire after a 1988 heart attack and double-bypass surgery.

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