Local news. Locally owned.
We put readers first.

Boise City Council unanimously confirms Niemeyer for Fire Chief

Regence

Boise will soon have a new Fire Chief. 

Eight days after Mayor Lauren McLean’s surprise selection of Meridian Fire Chief Mark Niemeyer to head up the Boise Fire Department, BoiseCity Council unanimously voted to confirm him. All of the council members praised Niemeyer’s history of collaboration with local partners and leadership, but council leadership acknowledged the unusual process to name Niemeyer could have been better executed. 

[Council members weigh McLean’s ‘surprise’ pick of Meridian chief for Boise Fire top job]

McLean launched a nationwide search after the resignation of former Chief Dennis Doan in March and she named two out of state finalists in October. City council members, firefighters and other stakeholders interviewed both candidates and they took questions from the public in a town hall. But, McLean decided neither candidate was right for Boise and reached out to Niemeyer herself to offer him the job.

Council Leadership raises process questions

City Council President Elaine Clegg said she was “delighted” Niemeyer was selected. Clegg said she understood some council members hoped for a different process to pick Niemeyer, she praised McLean’s quick action to fill the crucial position during a record spike in COVID-19 cases. She also said getting a fire chief as quickly as possible was important for upcoming budget talks between the Mayor, City Council, Fire Chief and the Boise Fire Union. 

- Story continues below -
The Sundance Company
Idaho's Biggest Toy Drive

However, she expressed some regret about how the news broke to the public and that the original search didn’t yield the final candidate. 

“I would take a little bit of blame myself for not pushing for maybe a little bit different way to announce it,” Clegg said. “I would suggest the Mayor has some blame on that and we’ll all get better. It’s City Council Member (Lisa) Sanchez who said many times ‘this job doesn’t come with any training and you get up here and do the best you can’ and hopefully your experience and instincts lead you to that. Ultimately what it led to was a really good candidate.”

City Council Member Holli Woodings, who participated in the original search process, was critical of the decision to name Niemeyer a week before the vote. Woodings told BoiseDev last week she learned of McLean’s choice 20 minutes before the public announcement. 

“I think we all wish we did a different process,” Woodings said. “I think it’s because with the way this was announced, we never had the chance and the opportunity to really objectively evaluate Mr. Niemeyer’s qualifications, work history and expertise.”

Finding the right fit

Prior to the vote, McLean said the original search process helped her understand a local candidate was needed and Niemeyer was the right choice, even if he didn’t originally apply. She said talking to Nampa Mayor Debbie Kling about the possibility of hiring Niemeyer helped her decide to choose him in the way that she did. 

“It was the Mayor of Nampa that told me this process was different. It wasn’t what everyone expected and it wasn’t what I expected. Debbie said to me a process works when the person that has to make a hiring decision goes through a process, talks to people who have applied, talks to her team of people that have to work with that person, and hears from the community and learns from it.”

City Council Member Patrick Bageant, another participant in the original search, said he had some hard questions and concerns about appointing Niemeyer. But, after their meeting Bageant was impressed with his candid answers in their meeting and voted to confirm him. 

“I have no doubts about this gentleman’s integrity and his ability to articulate what he believes in and defend it,” Bageant said. 

- Story continues below -
The Sundance Company
Idaho's Biggest Toy Drive

In another meeting, City Council Member Lisa Sanchez asked Niemeyer about diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. She said Niemeyer admitted he was not an expert in the topic, but he was open to more training. 

“That gives me hope for our community and for our city and for us as an organization that we have people who are humble enough to say ‘I don’t know, but I am willing to learn’” Sanchez said. “We need more of that actually.”

Niemeyer will formally start in the position later this month, and a swearing in is slated for early December.

Margaret Carmel
Margaret is a BoiseDev reporter focused on the City of Boise, housing, homelessness and growth. Contact her at margaret@boisedev.com or by phone at (757)705-8066.

Recount in ACHD race with two-vote margin set to start Nov. 30

The Ada County Clerk's office will begin a recount of the hotly contested race between Ada County Highway District Commissioner Rebecca Arnold and newcomer...

Property tax panel recommends restricting, overseeing local government spending

Lawmakers on an interim committee on property taxes on Thursday endorsed three legislative proposals aimed at restricting or overseeing local government spending, and asked...

Citations, arrests possible for violating new COVID-19 restrictions in Boise

The Boise Police Department will issue citations or arrest individuals reported not to be following COVID-19 public health orders as the disease continues to...

Outgoing ACHD commissioners cast decisive votes on contract for director

Ada County Highway District Director Bruce Wong won a contract for his job from a commission set to change in the new year. On Wednesday,...

Popular

You asked: What’s the large Christmas display at Expo Idaho for?

A new Christmas experience will open at Expo Idaho this year - just in time for a socially distanced holiday season. Christmas in Color set...

COVID spreads in Boise homeless shelters: one Boise Rescue Mission guest and staffer dead

Eight months after Idaho announced it’s first case of COVID-19, the pandemic is hitting Boise’s homeless community harder than ever.  In the past two weeks,...

Over the leftovers? Check out our takeout & delivery guide with more new options!

We had snow this week - and hopefully lots of Thanksgiving goodies. But if you're ready for something different - our Boise and Meridian...

In-N-Out Burger sets plan for Boise, but it will be a while still

It’s the question we get more than just about any other inquiry: When will the Boise area get an In-N-Out Burger? The California-based chain of...

Related

Citations, arrests possible for violating new COVID-19 restrictions in Boise

The Boise Police Department will issue citations or arrest individuals reported not to be following COVID-19 public health orders as the disease continues to...

Layoffs, facility closures hit the City of Boise as COVID-19 resurges

The City of Boise will once again shutter many facilities to try and slow the spread of COVID-19. Starting November 23, the city plans...

Boise Police chief unveils policy changes, asks for public input

Boise’s new police chief hit the ground running and proposed several policy changes to roll out in the coming months. Chief Ryan Lee, who...

Boise Mayor, City Council won’t raise their pay in 2021

Mayor Lauren McLean and members of the Boise City Council won't take home their typical pay raises in 2021.  On Tuesday, Boise City Council unanimously...
SERVPRO Certified

Latest

Get Local: Ideas on where and how to shop local this season

NEWS ANALYSIS Every holiday season, we hear about the importance of shopping local. This year, however, shopping Treasure Valley businesses is vital to the survival...

Over the leftovers? Check out our takeout & delivery guide with more new options!

We had snow this week - and hopefully lots of Thanksgiving goodies. But if you're ready for something different - our Boise and Meridian...

COVID spreads in Boise homeless shelters: one Boise Rescue Mission guest and staffer dead

Eight months after Idaho announced it’s first case of COVID-19, the pandemic is hitting Boise’s homeless community harder than ever.  In the past two weeks,...

Boise-based Norco purchased Utah-based automation & welding company

By Idaho Press staff Norco, a large, privately owned welding, safety, medical, and gas supplier, announced in a press release the acquisition of Arc Services...

‘I have never, ever felt this ill:’ Ahlquist, family contract COVID-19

By Nicole Camarda / Idaho News 6 Crush The Curve co-founder Tommy Ahlquist brought the first public COVID-19 tests to Idaho last spring. Now he...

Popular old Vista Ave. cafe reopens in new Boise mall-area location

After starting as a cafe on Vista, converting to a cafeteria at MK Plaza and a catering company out of a call center, Rooster's...