NWFRS hires new ops chief

Published on Wed, May 21, 2014 by Steve Guntli

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The Northwest Fire and Rescue Services (NWFRS) are welcoming a new staff officer. 

On Saturday, May 17, chief Ron Anderson announced that veteran firefighter William Pernett would become the new chief of operations replacing John Swobody, who resigned from the position in late January.

Pernett has spent the last 24 years in the Golden Ranch fire district in Tucson, Arizona, serving as a firefighter, company officer, training officer, paramedic and hazmat team coordinator. He is currently the district’s acting battalion chief. 

The chief of operations is responsible for overseeing the daily operations, as well as deciding how to operate on a fire ground and in an emergency response call. 

The department has been actively searching for a new chief since early February. Twenty-five initial applicants were whittled down to four final candidates, of which two were deemed standouts. Aside from Pernett, NWFRS training captain Joe Noonchester was in contention for the position. Chief Anderson said his professional relationship with Noonchester made the decision all the more difficult. 

“It was a struggle,” Anderson said. “I know Noonchester and his abilities, but Mr. Pernett really stood out in the assessments and seems to be a very capable individual.”

Noonchester will be staying on in his position as training captain. 

“It’s nice to know we won’t lose Joe,” Anderson added. 

The final four candidates were rigorously evaluated on their conflict resolution skills and strategic and tactical knowledge.

Pernett is expected to take over the position in mid to late June.