Villaraigosa to Name
as New Fire Chief,
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa later today intends to nominate Battalion Chief
Millage Peaks to head the Los Angeles Fire Department, according to sources
close to the department speaking under the condition of anonymity. Peaks, a
33-year veteran of the department will replace Chief Barry Douglas,
who will retire this weekend.
Currently the Chief of
Battalion 4 (LAX, Venice and other Pacific coast and inland
neighborhoods), Peaks joined the department in 1976 and was promoted to be a
captain in 1984. Eight years later, he became a Battalion Chief in South L.A.
for a short stint before entering a more administrative role as Employee
Relations Officer for two years. He then continued building his skill set by
taking various roles including Planning Section Commander, Operations Chief
Executive Officer and, again, as Battalion Chief for a few times.
Peaks, an African American, has seen the department through two major cases
of discrimination allegations. In 1995, he
testified to a City Council committee about discrimination against female
recruits. More recently, he was
of being the deposed top official who thought the harassment of Tennie
Pierce appeared to be racially motivated. Pierce sued the city after a
firehouse prank involved him eating dog food. The case was settled, but if it
did go to court, the official's deposition could have been used against the
Villaraigosa will officially announce Peaks' nomination
at an 11 a.m. press conference. The City Council must confirm him before
he can officially take over, however, he will be appointed as the interim
chief so there is no gap in leadership of the department.