Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa stands with newly
appointed Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Millage Peaks.
Community Leaders Key in Peaks Selection as Fire Chief
Community leaders key in Peaks selection as Fire Chief Several Black organizations urged new appointment.
By Kenneth Miller
Sentinel Managing Editor
Several prominent community organization leaders were instrumental in urging the selection of new African American Fire Chief Millage Peaks who was appointed by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa this week.
“The community’s voice has truly been heard in the selection of the new Chief of the Los Angeles Fire Department, Millage Peaks. We thank Mayor Villaraigosa for his wise choice of Millage Peaks. Chief Peaks has an outstanding resume of achievements during his 33-year career at the L.A. Fire Department. He has served in every major division of the department and has proven his leadership and administrative abilities time after time. We thank Fire Commissioner Genethia Hayes for her sound advice and firm advocacy that the very best person be selected to fill this very important and awesome position. In this decision-making process thanks should be given to the leaders who lent their name and support to the selection of Chief Peaks: Blair Taylor of the Los Angeles Urban League, Charisse Bremond of the Brotherhood; Rev. Eric Lee of SCLC/Los Angeles; Dr. Anthony Samad; Attorney Brenda Sutton-Wills; Jackie Hawthorne of the L.A. African American Women’s’ Political Action Committee; Danny Bakewell, Jr. of the L.A. Sentinel; Leon Jenkins of the L.A. branch of the NAACP; Ron Hasson of the Beverly Hills/Hollywood branch of the NAACP. There was much more support but these leaders came together in partnership to raise their voices in support of Chief Millage Peaks,” said advocate Willis Edwards of the Beverly Hills/Hollywood NAACP.
When confirmed by the L.A. City Council, Peaks will become the second Black chief, replacing the retired Douglas L. Barry who became the first African American to lead the department.
Villaraigosa called Peaks, “the right man at the right time,” to lead a fire department which has been mourning the death of two of its own during the brutal raging fires of recent days and that has been beleaguered with allegations of hazing and racial divisions among its minority firefighters.
Millage supervised the infamous Tennie Pierce internal inquiry that later led to a successful civil lawsuit by Pierce when firefighters slipped dog food into his firehouse spaghetti.
He called the incident grave and said that one of his own reports was altered by a top commander.
Peaks referenced the election of President Barack Obama when referring to his appointment: “Out of crisis comes change. And I believe that there are a lot of positive things that can happen with the Los Angeles Fire Department despite the budget problems that we’re having right now.
“I really want to employ a lot of out of the box thinking, innovation, and I’m soliciting all of the input from anyone in the organization, from top to bottom, and together I want to see us be successful as a team.”