Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert Names New Fire Chief

Photo: City of Omaha

(Omaha, NE) -- Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert names a new Fire Chief.

On Thursday, Stothert named Kathy Bossman as Chief of the Omaha Fire Department. She will be the first woman to serve as Fire Chief and will succeed Chief Dan Olsen, who will retire this month.

“This position requires superior operational experience, finance and personnel management, and leadership and trust within the fire department and in the community,“ said Mayor Stothert. ”Chief Bossman shares my expectations for excellence in public safety, service to our citizens, firefighter safety, and the administration of the Omaha Fire Department.”

Bossman joined the Omaha Fire Deparment in 1997 as a firefighter/paramedic. During her career she has been promoted to Captain, Battalion Chief and in 2017, Chief Olsen promoted her to Assistant Fire Chief.

In her current role, Assistant Chief Bossman supervises the 184 firefighters and seven Battalion Chiefs assigned to the "C" shift, including scheduling, training, communication and response to large-scale incidents. She also manages the Emergency Medical Services Division (EMS), which for the last three years included development and management of the Omaha Fire Department’s Covid-19 response protocols and policies to protect firefighters, paramedics and patients from exposure to Covid.

She helped design and implement the department-wide “Fire Away" program, a diversity, equity and inclusion education program, developed Employee Resource Groups (ERG), and the peer support program.

“As Chief, I intend to continue our diversity, equity, inclusion and sense of belonging, especially at our higher ranks. We value the different perspectives that a diverse workforce offers,” said Bossman. “I will continue to build relationships with community stakeholders, open lines of communication, and invest in our personnel so our firefighters are actively involved in the research and development of new programs and procedures with safety being our number one priority.“

The City posted the Fire Chief position earlier this year for internal applicants only. Five candidates applied and completed an independent testing process administered by IO Solutions. The company is under contract with the City to test candidates for promotions and entry-level positions in the Omaha Fire and Omaha Police Departments. The Human Resources Director then referred the top four candidates, based on test scores, to Mayor Stothert for interviews, which is required by City Code.

Bossman earned a Master of Arts Degree in Organizational Leadership with Concentration in Fire/Rescue Executive Leadership from Waldorf University, a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from University of Nebraska Lincoln, Associate of Science-Fire Science from Southeast Community College and Paramedic Certification from Creighton University. Bossman’s annual salary will be $184,205 pending approval of the Personnel Board. She will be sworn in as Chief following Chief Olsen’s retirement on March 24th.

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