Richard Mattick, Santee’s newest fire chief, is a seasoned firefighter and administrator who said he has learned different things from the six chiefs who preceded him.
“I have pretty big shoes to fill,” said Mattick, whose promotion from deputy chief was effective April 16. “We’ve had some outstanding fire chiefs come out of this department.”
First on Mattick’s agenda is implementing the department’s new management structure. The department, which has 56 employees, recently promoted three experienced captains to newly created battalion chief positions. They will oversee day-to-day operations at the city’s two fire stations and supervise three major functions: emergency medical services; city fleet and equipment; and training and fire prevention.
The promotions of those fire captains, and the pending retirement of another, will trigger the need to promote several fire engineers and/or firefighter paramedics to fill those vacancies. At the same time, the department is hiring three new firefighter paramedics.
“This is a huge impact on our department,” said Mattick, noting that the extensive reshuffling due to promotions and staff openings is unprecedented in his 35 years with the department.
The staff changes also mean that some of the department’s personnel will be reassigned to different shifts and different fire stations, Mattick said.
While he has plenty of work to keep him busy, Mattick said he’ll continue to enjoy riding his Harley Davidson motorcycle and “rock crawling” with his Jeep in the desert during his time off the job.