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Departing Fire Chief Jeff Bowman showed up to today’s council meeting to receive a formal sendoff from the mayor and City Council. He thanked the elected officials, but not without chiming in about a subject he has confronted the council about before – funding fire protection in the city.

He said the “plans are in place to have a world-class fire department,” but said that funding those plans are critical to prevent future crisis.

“When you have the plans done, you can build a house. We need a better public safety house,” said Bowman, who has been critical of the funding levels for fire protection since taking the job four years ago.

Bowman, who was at the helm of the Fire Department when the catastrophic Cedar Fire tore through the city’s northeastern suburbs in 2003, received a standing ovation from the council and the auditorium’s onlookers, most of whom attended the meeting to speak about the city’s budget or affordable housing law.

Bowman’s resignation is effective June 30. A national search is underway for a new chief, and whoever is hired will take office by August. Assistant Chief Tracy Jarman will hold down the post in the interim.

EVAN McLAUGHLIN

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