Fire chief contender visits Springs



John Caufield Mayor Steve Bach Waldo Canyon Fire
  • Waldo Canyon Fire image as fire sweeps into the city.

Among the finalists for Colorado Springs fire chief is John Caufield, retired fire chief from Rochester, N.Y., who has made the rounds at Springs fire stations in recent days.

John Caufield Mayor Steve Bach
  • NFPA website
  • Caufield: Overhaul artist?

It's unknown who the other finalists are, but the city confirms that Caufield is on the short list.

Caufield retired in 2012 after 27 years at the Rochester department, serving his last five years there as chief, according to news reports at the time.

Since then, Caufield has served as a regional director for the National Fire Protection Association, whose website says this about him:

Mid-Atlantic Region (DC, DE, MD, NJ, NY, PA, VA, WV)
John Caufield, Regional Director
Mr. Caufield has over 25 years of experience in the fire service industry. He began his career as a firefighter and worked his way up through the ranks. Most recently, he was fire chief of the City of Rochester Fire Department, a position he has held for five years. Caufield’s accomplishments as fire chief include initiating a strategic planning document for the Rochester Fire Department and implementing a new model for fire response.

According to the Democrat and Chronicle newspaper in Rochester, Caufield pushed through an overhaul of the department that cut personnel by 35 positions and made other changes, drawing opposition from the firefighter union.

You can read letters the union wrote to City Council here:



In one, dated Jan. 23, 2012, the union wrote, "With the implementation of the final stage of reorganization of the RFD, it is our belief that a tragedy to one or more of our members and one or more citizens is imminent."

Anyway, you'd think that Caufield has a good chance to work for Mayor Steve Bach, who is on a campaign to reduce pensions of city workers and recently issued a request for proposals on how to outsource Fire Department functions, which we reported on June 12.

The city is seeking to fill the position left vacant by Rich Brown's "retirement" in late April. Brown will stay on the payroll through the end of the year at his normal annual chief's pay of $147,657.

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