New city fire chief comes from Kansas |

New city fire chief comes from Kansas

William Ferchland
SLT Fire Chief - Lorenzo Gigliotti

Lorenzo Gigliotti is not in Kansas anymore.

Gigliotti (pronounced “jill-otti”) was selected out of 27 applicants as the new chief of South Lake Tahoe Fire Department. He served previously as fire chief for Leavenworth, Kan., a town of 35,420, according to the 2000 census.

He began his new fire duties Jan. 1.

City Manager David Jinkens said his wish list for a new fire chief included someone with California fire experience and background as chief.

“Gigliotti is familiar with and skilled in all aspects of fire operations and has particular skills in fire prevention, an area of great importance to the city as we move forward with our comprehensive fire prevention program,” Jinkens said.

Police Chief Don Muren, who was part of a panel of city employees that helped make the final hiring decision, said he was impressed with Gigliotti’s background and believed the new chief, being an outsider, would bring a “different perspective” to the department.

Gigliotti replaced Mike Chandler, who retired in September, as chief. Gigliotti becomes the eighth chief in the department’s 28-year history.

The resume for the Long Beach native is impressive. Twenty-two years in the fire service allowed him to climb from a firefighter to chief in states such as California, Missouri and Kansas.

He holds at least three certificates and credentials in fire service and has taught fire science at San Diego Community College and an extension of the University of Missouri.

“I expect Chief Gigliotti will have a long tenure here,” Jinkens said. “He’s that type of guy.”

Gigliotti does plan to stay awhile. He and his wife have six children, from a 22-year-old to 2-year-old twins.

“I think one it would be a tremendous place for our children to grow up,” Gigliotti said about going for the job.

The 40-something wanted to come back to California, to a place where he could drive in a day to family members in the southern part of the state. He said the Tahoe job was a “unique opportunity to come to a unique part of the world.” An outdoorsman, he likes to hike, fish and boat.

He has met several of the department’s employees but said it would take awhile to acclimate himself to the department, community and their issues.

Stewart Gary, fire chief of Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department, was part of an outside panel who interviewed Gigliotti along with four other applicants.

Not only has Gary worked as a consultant for South Lake Tahoe, but the Bay Area fire chief said he and Gigliotti worked as firefighters in San Diego County years ago.

“You’re not getting a big city person who wants to change or a person let’s say who wants to do things vastly different from the type of fire and medical services necessary for South Lake Tahoe,” Gary said.

After the pool of five applicants was whittled down to two, a panel of city employees helped make the final decision.

– E-mail William Ferchland at

New chief at a glance

Name: Lorenzo Gigliotti

Title: Chief of South Lake Tahoe Fire Department

Background: Twenty-two years in fire service

Last employed: Fire chief of Leavenworth, Kan.

Salary: $6,815 per month, or $81,780 annually, which can be adjusted based on performance

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