New Syracuse Fire Chief, six members of Department promoted

Paul Linnertz

The City of Syracuse officially has a new fire chief. Six members of the department were promoted today. Paul Linnertz, 53, will take over for retiring Fire Chief Mark McLees.

In a ceremony at City Hall, Linnertz -- a 27 year veteran of the city's fire fighting force -- humbly accepted his new position, reflecting on how he's seen the department change over the years.

"The circumstances that bring us to this day revolve around change. Firefighters love meat and potatoes," Linnertz joked. "They hate change."

He shared a story from his wife's grandpa, who protected the city in the 1930's. Back then, Linnertz's relative said, firefighters responded to alarms for $.25 a call.

When Linnertz started with the force in March 1985, he remembers the channel radios used for communication were barely audible within two blocks.

In the present day, reception stretches across the county, and he estimates that $.25 per alarm has stretched to about $.25 per thirty seconds.

Linnertz says he looks forward to leading the rank and file, and working with the chief officers to protect the citizens of Syracuse.

He plans to work with the chief officers in the department to try to stay within the constraints of the city budget.

"My hope is that the firefighters will see that the city's financial condition almost demands that we all take a better look at the way we operate, and that we'll be able to safety protect the citizens of the city without any question," he says.

Kent Young, a fellow 27-year veteran, was promoted as First Deputy Chief.

Mayor Stephanie Miner promoted Mark Zoanetti to Deputy Chief. Glen Chandler and Robert Whitehead were named district chiefs, and Robert Heron was promoted to a captain position.

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