Fire Department names new chief

Modesto Fire Chief James Miguel to start new Livermore-Pleasanton post in July

The Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department has named James Miguel as its new fire chief, to begin July 6. Miguel has 27 years of fire service experience, including eight years as fire chief for the Modesto Fire Department, his current position.

"Jim Miguel understands and values the role of community and organizational stakeholders as partners," said Pleasanton City Manager Nelson Fialho. "We are excited to have him at the helm of the LPFD."

As LPFD fire chief, Miguel will oversee a department with a staff of 129 that provides services to Pleasanton and Livermore residents. These include emergency medical response, fire suppression, rescue emergencies and hazardous materials incidents. The department also does public education regarding fire prevention and emergency preparedness for residents and businesses.

Miguel began his career as a firefighter for the city of Modesto and worked through the ranks of fire engineer, captain, battalion chief and operations division chief. He also has served concurrently in Modesto as the acting deputy city manager and director of finance.

"Jim's broad experience makes him the perfect match for the organization," said Fialho.

Miguel has a masters of science degree in executive fire service leadership from Grand Canyon University, and is a graduate of the executive fire officer program at the National Fire Academy. He resides in Manteca with his wife Susan.

Fire Chief Bill Cody, who was at the helm of the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department for four-and-a-half years, retired Oct. 16. Since then it has been a joint effort of Pleasanton and Livermore to hire a search firm, then interview candidates and reach a decision on a new fire chief. Chief Miguel will report to both Fialho and Livermore City Manager Linda Barton.

Cody noted upon his retirement that the opportunity to serve as fire chief in an organization that reports to two cities presented unique challenges and also the chance to be involved in city and civic activities in both communities.

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Like this comment
Posted by R. P. Wasden
a resident of Amador Estates
on May 26, 2010 at 4:25 pm

Well I see Modesto has lost another Dept head bully and we have gained one in Miguel. I guess no one interviewed the women who had to work under Miguel, they would of had a lot of very unpleasant things to say about his feelings of women in the work place as opposed to being home taking care of his idea of the family. I wonder who the first female manager he will go after so he can replace her with a male. Just like he has done in Modesto and at the JPA.

Like this comment
Posted by Tara Chumlee
a resident of Civic Square
on May 26, 2010 at 4:36 pm

Well I wonder how long till the sexual harassment complaints and law suits start to come in from the Fire Deptartment. We have seen and heard his back stabbing and double talk, now others will have to suffer the same. This is a great day for Modesto, and a sad day for Livermore-Pleasonton.

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on May 26, 2010 at 4:40 pm


Like this comment
Posted by Concerned
a resident of Livermore
on May 26, 2010 at 4:49 pm

If it was only hearsay why then did the City of Modesto lose the law suits ? I hope we don't follow suit and have to pay out our tax dollars like Modesto.

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on May 26, 2010 at 5:32 pm

It's hearsay until you PROVE otherwise!

If you know something, then post the facts...otherwise go back to picking your nose.

Like this comment
Posted by Ryan
a resident of Downtown
on May 26, 2010 at 5:34 pm

Concerned: So you argue that if someone wins a sexual harassment case against someone, that implies that said person is *truly* a victim of sexual harassment?

That's a rather naive assumption.

I recommend sitting down and reading the legal definition of sexual harassment. It is so vague, that guys like me have been conditioned to be fearful of making perfectly innocent comments such as "your hair looks nice" or giving a friendly pat on the back for a job well-done.

What used to be a means of legal recourse for women who have *truly* been a victim of sexual abuse has now been perverted into a means for receiving massive settlements at the expense of an good man's reputation.

Whether that is the case here or not: I am in no position to say. My main point is that a guilty verdict, unfortunately, tells us nothing about what *actually* happened.

Like this comment
Posted by Revision needed
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 27, 2010 at 12:36 am

It seems like acting as a short term Fire Chief, seems it's just a brief resting place, sort of like passing GO, between a stint as a youthful fireman, in route to a 50 BD retirement. Like a revolving door inroute to a youthful retirement. Dond't we have any minimum time served a CHIEF, to be entitled to retirement at the CHIEF rate of 8 yr min or something instead of 4 yr like the last Chief. Otherwise, he could just retire at a fireman's pay.
Maybe our 'POWERFUL' negotiator who job is to REPRESENT local taxpayers, could put that on our list for the next go round. To date, taxpayers seem to have been forgotten in the discussions. I think the DEPTH of the farsical 'negotiations' have been, 'what benefits would you like increased this year..let us know what we can DO FOR YOU !". We SO deperately need an outside, independent negotiator...who maybe would represent 'the people'.

Like this comment
Posted by lori martinez
a resident of Amador Estates
on May 27, 2010 at 9:56 am

I read, with overwhelming sadness, the messages being left on this site. Messages left by neither individuals who neither know James Miguel, nor have they worked for him. I, and my colleagues, am angered by the slandering of this man who we call not only Chief, but friend. I am a 23 year employee with the City of Modesto, the last nine of which have been with Modesto Fire Department as a Manager. What I can tell you about Chief Miguel is that you will not meet a man with more integrity. His character is beyond reproach. He does not tolerate the abuse of the employee at any level. We are mourning his loss now, and hoping that LPFD is thanking what ever God they believe in for their great fortune to have a man like James Miguel lead their department.

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Posted by MTriplett
a resident of another community
on May 27, 2010 at 10:30 am

Wow. I am just in shock at the comments that have been made here about Chief Miguel. I have known him for over 28 years, the last 15 as one of his firefighters. Chief Miguel promoted me as the first female captain in this department back in 2002. I personally know every female who works for the MFD and not one would have anything "unpleasant" to say about him whether it be personally or professionally. Funny how just yesterday I was telling my friends what a sad day it was for the MFD. LPFD could not be luckier in hiring a man with such intelligence, integrity, compassion and dedication to the fire service and the community.
Wasden and Chumlee you are so off base. I was angry when I read your comments. It was like a slap in the face. I'd really like to know where you came up with this off the wall information. Get it straight before you slander someone you do not know.

Like this comment
Posted by Deborah Espinoza
a resident of another community
on May 27, 2010 at 10:45 am

As a member of James Miguel’s female management staff I am appalled at the inaccuracies and ignorant statements being posted on this site. I have worked with the Chief for 10 years now and with the City of Modesto for longer. There isn’t a better leader in this city or in this county that I esteem more than this man. He is truly above reproach, leads with respect, honor and compassion. I have never personally been bullied by him or harassed in any way. In fact, quite the opposite is true. He has not only served as a terrific supervisor, but has gone the extra mile to befriend my husband, daughter, and son. Our hearts are broken that he will leave us soon though we wish him every good thing on this next leg of his journey. I will miss you, Jim (if you’re reading this). I will miss your words of wisdom, your strength of character and compassionate spirit. Every one of our public servants should learn from you.

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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on May 27, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Is it the name "Miguel" that is troubling to some posters? Hmmmmmmm...?

Is the Chief of Latino/Hispanic descent?

If so, that may be the reason for trashing him.


Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on May 27, 2010 at 9:07 pm

Since chummy or waspy have provided no proof, it's time to!

tee hee hee, tee hee hee...

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on May 27, 2010 at 9:14 pm

SEXUAL HARASSMENT by Catharine C. MacKinnon is the best book I've read on the subject.
She is brilliant. Unless chummy or waspy can provide relevant data to back up your claims, you have NO CREDIBILITY!

I rest my case!

Like this comment
Posted by Cynthia Gale
a resident of another community
on May 28, 2010 at 8:00 am

I have found it's usually best to take the high road when reading and responding to people's comments. There's generally nothing to be won by arguing with anonymous cowards. In this case, however, I simply cannot let this libel go. It has been my great pleasure to work with and for Chief Miguel for the last year. I have never met a someone with more integrity, more concern for others and more overall decentness than this man. Some bosses you can barely tolerate, some don't bother you too much and some inspire to be a better employee and a better person. Chief Miguel definitely falls into the last category. He will be very, very missed in Modesto but we wish him the very, very best of luck in Pleasanton.

Like this comment
Posted by Dave Caldwell
a resident of Golden Eagle
on Sep 18, 2010 at 11:42 am

Just a quick comment on the Art that has been on display for the past couple weeks at the Fire Station 4 on Bernal Avenue. This metal structure of firemen raising of saving the flag, is awe inspiring and hopefully will be a permanent fixture, either at firestation 4 or another firestation in the city.

It is my understanding the artist is now living locally in Pleasanton, so it would add another local artist's rendering to our fine city.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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