Mayor Andrew J. Ginther Appoints Jeffrey Happ Interim Fire Chief
Mayor Andrew J. Ginther has appointed Assistant Chief
Jeffrey Happ to serve as interim Chief of the Columbus Division of Fire,
succeeding Chief Kevin O’Connor who will retire Thurs., May 28. The city will
launch a national search for a permanent replacement.
“I am confident Chief Happ will take this opportunity to
make additional advances, changes, innovations and reforms to improve the
culture within the Division of Fire,” Ginther said.
Happ is a 27-year Columbus Division of Fire veteran who
oversees the Fire Training Academy. He became a firefighter in 1993 and worked
his way through the ranks serving as a battalion chief, captain and lieutenant.
He is also a Certified Ohio Peace Officer Trainer for Homeland Security in
bombs, explosives and incendiary devices. He is a graduate of Miami University.
“Chief Happ is a collaborative leader with strong team
building skills. I am confident he will surround himself with the talent and
expertise needed to change the culture of the Columbus Division of Fire. He and
his team will work together – and with the community – to improve efficiency
and effectiveness utilizing innovation where appropriate,” said Safety Director
Ginther has charged Happ with laying the groundwork for
implementing recommendations that will result from a third-party, independent
review of the Division’s policies – especially those designed to create
an inclusive environment and provide opportunities for women and minorities in
the fire service. The City has entered into contract with Matrix Consulting,
the same firm that conducted a thorough inventory of Division of Police
The City will hire a search firm to help assemble a pool of
qualified candidates from across the nation.
“It is my responsibility to ensure the City selects the best
candidate to serve as the next Fire Chief, whether that person is an internal
candidate or from outside the Division,” Ginther said. “I look forward to the
chief selection process and to making significant and meaningful change in the
The City intends to name a permanent chief named by the end
of the year.