The Salem News, Beverly, Mass.
May 28—SALEM — After a brief run leading the Witch City’s fire department on an acting basis, Alan Dionne has been tapped to lead Salem Fire permanently.
Mayor Kim Driscoll announced Dionne’s appointment to fire chief late Thursday afternoon. He’ll take over for former chief John “Gerry” Giunta, who retired in late February after 38 years in the department.
Dionne joined the department in 1993 as a firefighter with Engines 1 and 4. He was promoted to lieutenant in 2000 for Engine 1 and Ladder 2, and in 2004 became captain of Ladder 2. In 2016, he was appointed deputy chief, and in 2018 was runner-up in the fire chief search that led to Giunta’s appointment.
“I’m so pleased to be able to appoint Al to this important position,” Driscoll said in the announcement, adding that Dionne has been a steadfast and conscientious member of the department for nearly three decades. “I am certain he will continue to be a strong leader for the Salem Fire Department into the future and I am so grateful that he is willing to serve in this vital role.”
Dionne graduated from the Massachusetts Fire Academy in 1993 and has been a licensed EMT for the last 25 years. Dionne also has extensive training and background in emergency management, hazardous materials operations, and labor management.
“When I joined the Salem Fire Department in 1993, I had no idea what it meant to be a firefighter,” Dionne said in the statement. “Soon after, I learned that I was part of something very special. It’s humbling to think 28 years later I now have the opportunity to serve as Chief of the department that has meant so much to me in a city I love.”
After Giunta’s retirement, the city did not conduct a new fire chief search. Instead, Driscoll leaned on the fact that Dionne had just two years ago established himself as the next best option.
“It had only been 2 1/2 years since we had that process,” Driscoll said. “Al was still on the chief’s list under Civil Service as part of that process. I just thought that made sense, since he was the acting chief in January.”
The announcement comes barely a month after Driscoll announced Lucas Miller, a 30-year veteran of the New York Police Department, would become Salem’s next police chief as of this month. Miller will be ceremonially sworn in as Salem’s next police chief on Tuesday, June 8.
A date for Dionne’s swearing-in ceremony will be announced later, but it won’t coincide with Miller’s so each newly minted chief has “their own opportunity to celebrate.”
“We’ll certainly do something just as special for Chief Dionne,” Driscoll said. “He’s smart, he’s capable, and I’m really grateful he’s stepping up into this role.”
“My firefighter colleagues are truly the finest people to work with; I extend to them, my fellow City coworkers, and City officials my sincerest gratitude for their support,” Dionne said. “I will do my best to serve my department and my community. I am grateful for the opportunity to do so.”
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