–from the Daily Breeze
By Kerry Cavanaugh
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will announce today that he wants Interim Fire Chief Douglas Barry to take over the post permanently and continue efforts to reform the beleaguered Los Angeles Fire Department.
After interviewing candidates inside and outside the LAFD, Villaraigosa decided he wanted Barry and persuaded the 32-year department veteran to stay on the job, sources said. Barry’s performance since he was promoted to interim chief in December was praised by individual firefighters and their union.
Barry replaced William Bamattre, who retired ahead of schedule amid accusations that he’d failed to root out hazing and harassment during his decade as fire chief.
Tufts said Barry, a Rancho Palos Verdes resident who was born and raised in the South Bay, has already improved morale by repeatedly reminding people that the vast majority of firefighters are serious, hardworking employees who do not haze or harass colleagues.
Barry has visited every firehouse to relay the department’s “zero tolerance” policy toward horseplay, hazing and harassment.
In April, Barry told reporters he had quickly launched investigations into alleged harassment, such as an incident in which a black firefighter complained he found a banana inside his locker and white lotion smeared on his clothing and uniform at a station in North Hollywood.
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