Bertral Washington named to replace retiring Clark County fire chief

A Las Vegas Fire Department official is about to step in as Clark County’s new fire chief.

Bertral Washington, an assistant fire chief for the city, has been chosen to replace Steve Smith, who retired in September after more than 30 years of service.

County commissioners will decide on Nov. 3 whether to ratify Washington’s appointment.

He would head the state’s largest fire department with 29 stations, 683 employees and 180 volunteers in rural areas. He would take over in the midst of the county and firefighters union wrangling in arbitration.

“He is coming into the department during a challenging time and will bring a fresh perspective to it,” County Manager Virginia Valentine said in a statement.

Washington has worked as a city firefighter for 16 years and became an assistant chief in 2007, overseeing personnel services for 669 employees, such as workplace safety, legal matters, payroll, hiring, firing and promotions.

Washington would be the county’s ninth fire chief.

Fernandez Leary has served as acting fire chief since Smith, who held the top post since 2006, left last month.

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