City of Jacksonville


Mayor and JFRD representatives at press conference

City of Jacksonville Makes Transformational Announcement for JFRD

November 30, 2023

Mayor Donna Deegan, along with Jacksonville City Council Vice President Randy White and Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department (JFRD) Chief Keith Powers, announced a diverse executive team, leadership development program, and succession plan for JFRD earlier today.

Upon taking office, the Deegan Administration immediately recognized a need to develop succession planning strategies and expand internal leadership development opportunities for all city departments. A working group of supervisors and managers from various departments, including JFRD, was assembled and tasked with developing these plans. The leadership competencies that were identified are being incorporated into a comprehensive and newly branded leadership development program that advances the skills of the City’s future leaders. This program also incorporates educational opportunities, including reimbursement for college degrees and the city covering the cost of necessary certification courses.

In addition to creating career ladders, educational opportunities, and a leadership development program at JFRD, Mayor Deegan is reappointing experienced leaders to serve as mentors to the future leaders of the department, and elevating rising stars to new appointments so they can learn from the existing chief and division chiefs. That way, they will be ready to jump into action ensuring the continued safety of our citizens.

Mayor Deegan announced the following re-appointments, who will continue serving in their current leadership capacity.
  • Chief Keith Powers will continue serving as our Fire Chief.
  • Steve Riska is being reappointed as Division Chief of Operations.
  • Jake Blanton is being reappointed as Division Chief of Rescue.
  • Daniel Guthrie is being reappointed as Deputy Division Chief of Rescue.
  • Kevin Jones is being reappointed as Division Chief of Fire Prevention.
  • Andre Ayoub will continue as the Division Chief of Emergency Preparedness after being confirmed earlier this year.
She also introduced the following new appointments:
  • Willie King will serve as the new Deputy Fire Chief.
  • Chris Scott will be the new Deputy Division Chief of Operations.
  • Teresa Kinstle will be the new Division Chief of Training.
  • Austin Gambill will be the new Deputy Division Chief of Training.
  • Renaldo Horn will be the new Chief of Recruiting.
  • Allen Mason will be the new Deputy Division Chief of Fire Prevention.
  • Percy Golden, Jr. will be the new Deputy Division Chief of Emergency Preparedness.
  • Mike Lesniak will be the new Division Chief of Administrative Services.
  • Terrance Holmes will be the new Deputy Division Chief of Administrative Services.
  • Berlinda Tookes will serve as the new Assistant Chief of EEO/Ethics.
“When I became your mayor, I promised to bring more diversity to our city workforce, build the bench for our next generation of leaders, and deliver the best service possible for our citizens,” said Mayor Donna Deegan. “We have put in place a succession plan to create a pipeline that brings diverse talent to the top of JFRD. These changes will ensure we continue to have the best fire department in the country for years to come.”

With today’s announcement, the new JFRD leadership team is 38% African American, 6% Asian, 6% Hispanic or Latino, and 50% White, which reflects the demographics of the city.