Why Don't Chiefs Stay?
Hubbard didn't return calls and emails from the Observer after his December announcement. One obvious question is why he's choosing to leave just two years after taking the job--especially since he would've received a higher pension if he'd stayed another year.
"He's been with the department for twenty-eight years," says the mayor. "That's a long time, and he's given good service to the city. And remember, he could've retired two years ago but chose to stay and become chief."
To Hieftje, though, "the real question is, why don't fire chiefs stay around very long? The answer is that they come in and feel they want to change things and make them the way they want them, and they find out very quickly that neither the city administrator nor the chief control the fire department. The [union] contract controls everything at the fire department, and to make changes in the contract costs a lot of money and takes a long time. Chiefs who think they're going to change something very quickly find out."