Government

Cedar Rapids fire chief remains on paid leave

CEDAR RAPIDS — Cedar Rapids officials remain tight-lipped about the future of Cedar Rapids Fire Chief Mark English, who has been on paid leave for three and a half months.

English has been on paid long-term illness and injury leave since March 6, according to the city. Officials have not elaborated on the nature of the illness or injury, nor on whether or when English would return to work.

“The city does not comment on personnel matters,” said Maria Johnson, Cedar Rapids communications division manager.

She said the “medical reason for an employee’s sick leave is considered confidential.”

In his absence, the department is led by Assistant Fire Chief Greg Smith, who leads the operations division, and Assistant Fire Chief Curtis Hopper, who leads the support division.

English has been with the department since April 21, 1986, climbing the ranks from firefighter, lieutenant, captain, chief training officer, special operations/hazardous materials/technical rescue chief, battalion chief/shift commander, chief of operations and assistant fire chief.

After Steve Havlik retired as fire chief in 2010, English was among seven finalists for the position. He was passed over in favor of Stephen Reid, a former top official in the Washington, D.C., fire department, but English quickly was tabbed when Reid departed after only nine months.

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The City Council appointed English as fire chief on July 26, 2011. His annual salary is $148,366. English played a key role in keeping the city safe in the wake of the 2016 flood.

English has not returned phone messages seeking comment.

l Comments: (319) 398-8310; brian.morelli@thegazette.com

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