Berkeley Fire Chief Gil Dong appointed to role of interim deputy city manager

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Update 7/29/2015: This story has been updated to reflect additional information from city spokesperson Matthai Chakko.

Interim City Manager Dee Williams-Ridley has filled her own shoes by appointing Berkeley Fire Chief Gil Dong to the role of interim deputy city manager, which Dong began Saturday.

Dong began his 25 years of experience in Berkeley as a firefighter-paramedic and has held various leadership roles, such as city fire marshal and manager of the city’s Office of Emergency Services. As fire marshal, Dong worked with multiple city departments and offices, including the Department of Planning and Development and the City Attorney’s Office, according to Williams-Ridley.

“The Chief exemplifies a strong commitment to public service, leadership and integrity,” Williams-Ridley said in a July 17 memo to Berkeley City Council. “His ability to work across departmental lines will serve him well in this next role.”

Williams-Ridley left the deputy city manager role vacant after becoming the interim replacement for former city manager Christine Daniel, whose resignation was announced in June.

According to city spokesperson Matthai Chakko, because of the structure of Berkeley’s government, it is not uncommon for a fire chief to transition to a city management position.

Dong, who is leaving a role he has occupied since 2013, was the first Asian American fire chief in the continental United States. He could not be reached for comment.

Avery Webb, formerly the city’s deputy fire chief, has assumed the role of interim fire chief, as appointed by Williams-Ridley.

Assistant Fire Chief Donna McCracken will replace Webb as deputy chief, beginning Sunday, according to Chakko.

Contact Andrea Platten at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @andreaplatten.