Tough decisions for new brigade chief

jamieCL'Janie Courtney - Chief Fire Officer
jamieCL'Janie Courtney - Chief Fire Officer
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THE man standing in as South Yorkshire’s Chief Fire Officer for the last 10 months has been appointed full time.

Jamie Courtney, aged 49, had been standing in after the retirement of Mark Smitherman in April last year.

He joined South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue in 2006 and has held a number of high-level roles including Deputy Chief Fire Officer and Head of Emergency Response.

Mr Courtney, who started his career with Merseyside Fire and Rescue, said it was a ‘great honour’ to take up the new role.

“During the last 10 months I have been delighted to lead the service through a very challenging period and I look forward to continuing this for the foreseeable future,” he said.

“I am under no illusions that with the current economic climate we face testing times to find ways of making the savings in our budget.

“However, we have an extremely skilful and hard- working team across South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue and alongside the Fire Authority, community partners and members of the public I believe that together we can overcome the difficulties which face us.”

South Yorkshire Fire Authority chairman Jim Andrews said: “We are pleased to appoint Jamie Courtney as chief fire officer.

“He has done a superb job in the role during the past months and we feel he has the credentials to continue this excellent work.

“This is a hugely important and prestigious position for the county and one which will provide many challenges over the coming period.

“We are confident that Mr Courtney will lead the fire service during this critical time with the same professionalism and determination he has already shown.”

Mr Courtney spoke out last week about changes he may have to make in response to Government funding cuts.

He said he knows he has to save £4.7 million by next April and fears the total could rise to around £10m by 2015.

Mr Courtney said he may have to look at downgrading some full-time stations and staff them with part-time firefighters to save the cash.