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London's acting fire chief wants the job on a permanent basis

The acting leader of the London Fire Department, Lori Hamer, has revealed that she is applying to be the permanent chief. Hamer made the disclosure on CBC’s London Morning program Tuesday.

Lori Hamer says her leadership experience qualifies her for the role

London's acting fire chief, Lori Hamer, says she is meeting individually with employees to hear concerns about harassment and discrimination in the department. (London Fire Department)

The acting leader of the London fire department, Lori Hamer, has revealed she is applying to be the permanent chief.

Hamer made the disclosure on CBC Radio One's London Morning.

"I can share with you that I will put my name forward for that position," she told host Julianne Hazlewood.

Hamer has been serving in an interim capacity since the previous chief, John Kobarda, announced a sudden retirement in March.  He stepped aside after almost two weeks of sustained reports of bullying and harassment.

Platoon Chief Dave Walmsley told CBC News last month Kobarda "virtually locked himself in his office for 12 to 16 hours a day and was never seen by anybody."

Hamer's open door policy

Hamer says her door is open and that she has started speaking one-on-one with employees to listen to their concerns.

"I think it's sad that there are people who work in an environment that they feel is perhaps unsafe, or they feel there's discrimination or harassment, and that they feel that they can't come forward."

Hamer says she is committed to providing a safe work environment where employees are free of discrimination and harassment.

The acting chief declined to provide details about the nature of the concerns that have been shared with her, but she said the employees want to be heard.

"They want to be engaged, they want to build this department that they can come to work and be proud of…"

Leadership experience

Hamer started her career with the Kitchener Fire Department in 1998. She spent nearly 20 years there before joining the London Fire Department in 2016.

She said she has led almost every division of the London service and that has given her a good understanding of its 405 employees.

She confirmed the recruitment process for a permanent chief of the London Fire Department is now underway.