Hamilton's fire chief leaving for Nova Scotia - and gives 3 months notice

Rob Simonds has been chief since 2011. He will be chief administrative officer for Colchester County, Nova Scotia starting April 4.

Simonds had worked as fire chief in Saint John, N.B.

Rob Simonds, Hamilton fire chief, is leaving for Nova Scotia. (CBC)

Hamilton's fire chief, Rob Simonds, is leaving for Nova Scotia, but he's giving the city three months to find his replacement.

Simonds, who has been chief since 2011, will be chief administrative officer for Colchester County starting April 4.

Simonds is from the east coast, having previously been the fire chief in Saint John, N.B. He has "humility, honour, strong personal values and professional integrity," said Joe-Anne Priel, general manager of community services, in an email to council on Thursday.

Simonds is the second emergency services official to announce his departure in as many months.

Glenn De Caire, chief of Hamilton Police Service, announced his departure to the media on Dec. 18 — about an hour and a half after he told the police services board. His final day is Jan. 17, but because he took vacation time, his last day on the job was Dec. 31.

De Caire is the new director of security and parking services at McMaster University. Deputy Chief Eric Girt is acting chief until the police services board hires a permanent replacement.

Matthew Green, Ward 3 councillor and chair of city council's emergency and community services committee, said he's sorry to see Simonds go. "He's going to be a tremendous addition to that county, and this is a tremendous loss to Hamilton."

Green said he also appreciated the lengthy notice.

"Even though I'm sure his new municipality would have wanted him there yesterday, he was gracious enough to give us lots of time to find a replacement."

Simonds is a one-time president of the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs, and former president of both the New Brunswick Association of Fire Chiefs and the Maritime Fire Chiefs Association.

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