Many new faces in command staff at San Francisco Fire Department 

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Chief Joanne Hayes-White has quietly replaced four high-ranking officials at the San Francisco Fire Department who have recently retired over the last couple months.

Deputy Chief Pat Gardner, the department’s second-in-command was replaced by 35-year veteran Tom Siragusa. Siragusa has held several positions at the department and also happens to be the chief who called the shots during the June Diamond Heights fire in which two firefighters lost their lives.

There was talk around the firehouses that Gardner may have been nudged out because of bad blood between him and Hayes-White, but he returned our call to put that rumor to rest.

“It’s totally false that there was any problem between me and the chief,” Gardner said. “It’s not like I walked in and said I’m out of here. This was something we had been talking about for a while.”

Gardner pointed out that the likelihood of a pension reform measure passing in November was also a factor in him retiring, although the number one reason was to spend more time with his family.

Also out of the picture is Fire Marshall Barbara Schultheis who has been replaced by Thomas Harvey. Assistant Deputy Chief Thomas Doudiet has retired as chief of support services and has been replaced by Phil Stevens. And Assistant Deputy Chief Dave Sullivan is no longer at the airport and has been replaced by Mark Gonzales.

Fire Department spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said the changes were simply due to a rash of retirements over the last couple months.

bbegin@sfexaminer.com

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Brent Begin

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