St. Albert hires new fire chief following leadership turbulence


Article content

The City of St. Albert has hired a new fire chief following months of leadership turbulence stemming from allegations of COVID-19 vaccine queue jumping.

Article content

In a news release Wednesday, the City of St. Albert announced Everett Cooke will take on the role of Director of Emergency Services, which oversees the city’s fire services and municipal enforcement services teams.

Over the last four years, Cooke has served as the Director of Protective Services/Fire Chief at the City of Beaumont and prior to that role, he was the fire chief of the County of Grande Prairie.

“The city is excited to welcome Mr. Cooke into the corporation and looks forward to the leadership he will provide to our emergency services professionals and the critical services the department provides,” the news release states.

“The city appreciates the service of our former and acting directors and thanks all employees of the department for their ongoing contributions to our organization and our community.”

Before Cooke, two people have filled the acting chief role over the last six months. Chief Bernd Gretzinger stepped back from his duties in February after Postmedia reported that at least two of the city’s seven chiefs allegedly “jumped queue” to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

The union didn’t disclose which leaders were involved.

Cooke begins his new role effective Sept. 13.

With files from Lauren Boothby