Former Newport News Fire Official Tapped to Lead Petersburg (VA) Fire Department on Interim Basis


Bill Atkinson

The Progress-Index, Petersburg, Va.


PETERSBURG— The city has turned to a former acting fire chief in Newport Newsto take the reins of the Petersburg Fire Department on an interim basis.

Scott Liebold, who retired from his post in Newport News, will take on his new role Jan. 16. Petersburgcity spokeswoman Folakemi Osobasaid Liebold will serve as the interim while the city looks to bring on a full-time chief.

Since 2018, fire administration has fallen under the umbrella of the city’s Public Safety Departmentand its then-director, Police Chief Kenneth Miller. A deputy fire chief handled the day-to-day operations of the fire department.

Miller retired last year, and Travis Christianwas named to succeed him as police chief. The city opted to put the fire department under its own leadership, and since then has been searching for a new full-time leader.

More: Petersburgnames three finalists in its search for a new Fire Chief

Liebold spent his entire firefighting career in Newport News, the first 23 years on the lines before moving to administration. He was named acting fire chief in 2010 and held that post for three-and-a-half years before stepping down. He came back as interim chief for a short while and stepped away again in 2019.

While helming the Newport NewsFire Department the first time, Liebold was listed as the “acting” fire chief because he lived in Isle of Wight Countyinstead of Newport News, as required by that city’s charter. According to the Daily Pressof Newport News, Liebold kept the acting label with the approval of the city administration because a family situation would not allow him at that time to move to Newport News.

According to the newspaper, Newport News’city manager had to sign paperwork every six months reassigning Liebold to the acting position.

Since he left Newport Newsa second time two years ago, he served as a special adviser to Management Partners, a Cincinnati-based municipal-government consulting firm.

Liebold’s acceptance of the interim position comes at a moment of major transition for Petersburggovernment. Miller, the former Petersburgpublic safety director, was named Tuesday as interim city manager to succeed Aretha Ferrell-Benavides, who is leaving Petersburgto become city manager of Duncanville, Texas.

Bill Atkinson(he/him) is the news director of The Progress-Index, located in his hometown of Petersburg, Va.He is also the breaking-news coordinator and has been known to “nerd out” over political news coverage and history. Contact Bill at, and follow him on Twitter at @BAtkinson_PI, and subscribe to us at

This article originally appeared on The Progress-Index: Former Newport News fire official tapped to lead Petersburg Fire Departmenton interim basis


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