Longtime Modesto firefighter Sean Slamon was sworn in Tuesday as the city’s 12th fire chief before about 200 family members, friends, fellow firefighters and other well-wishers in the council chambers at Tenth Street Place.
Slamon, 47, has been a Modesto firefighter since 1989 and had served as interim chief since April. Interim City Manager Jim Holgersson announced last week that he had selected Slamon for the permanent job.
“I’m both honored and humbled to be here today, honored and humbled to accept the position of fire chief,” Slamon told audience members.
Firefighters from agencies throughout the San Joaquin Valley and the Bay Area attended the ceremony.
Slamon will face several challenges as chief, including a tough budget and the potential closure of one of Modesto’s 11 fire stations. The City Council’s Finance Committee is scheduled to meet Aug. 25 to discuss the department’s budget and whether the city can afford to keep all of its stations open.
The Fire Department also is re-establishing itself after being part of the Modesto Regional Fire Authority, which was formed by Modesto, Stanislaus County and the Salida Fire Protection District in 2011. They voted to disband MRFA as of July 1 over concerns about governing and expanding the authority.
Slamon said he welcomes taking on those issues because firefighters are taught not to run during dark moments but to push forward. “Together, we will overcome those challenges,” he said.
Slamon will earn $165,766 annually, up from the $152,900 he had been earning. He will receive six months’ severance if he is released from his job during the first two years as long as he is not released for cause.