New Johnson City fire chief named; Will start in September

JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – The Johnson City Fire Department’s new fire chief is Jim Stables of Palm Bay, Florida, according to the City of Johnson City. Stables, the current chief of Palm Bay since 2011, will start in Johnson City on September 5.

“Following an exhaustive search and thorough evaluation of a pool of nearly 100 candidates, we are excited to welcome Chief Stables to our organization,” Johnson City City Manager Pete Peterson said. “He not only has the qualifications and experience this role requires but also possesses the crucial leadership qualities we were looking for.”

Chief Stables succeeds embattled former Chief Mark Scott, who retired on June 2. Peterson says the new leader has a degree in public administration, which he feels will help the department move forward.

“He certainly understands organization structure and building of team and what it takes to take an organization to the next level,” Peterson said. “He’s a very personable personality. He grew up in fire service, so he understands the day-to-day operation of the fire department. Jim is fully aware of the situation and he is extremely comfortable with what he has to work with.”

According to the City of Johnson City, Chief Stables has worked for Palm Bay for 22 years and also serves as Palm Bay’s emergency manager. The new chief says he was also a finalist for the JCFD chief position in 2010.

“My family and I fell in love with Johnson City,” Stables said. “Fast forward to today, and we still love the community like we did then. The only difference is I now have six years of experience as a fire chief to bring with me.”

Peterson says when he hired Chief Scott, Stables was in the top five of finalists, but did not have any experience as a fire chief. He’s spent the last six years working as a chief.

Peterson says Stables is impressed with the organization, the fire department and “leading a great group of people to better effectiveness and efficiencies.”

We reached out to officials with the City of Palm Bay about the new chief and they told us that “Chief Stables has no record of even the slightest discipline in his entire record in Palm Bay.”

“On a personal note, as HR Director and Deputy City Manager, the Chief is one of the finest human beings and best leaders I have ever worked with. Johnson City is fortunate to have him join their team,” Ron Clare, deputy city manager/HR director with the City of Palm Bay, said.

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