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Jonathan DeLaBruere named Newport’s interim Fire Chief

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NEWPORT –– Jonathan DeLaBruere has been appointed the new interim fire chief of Newport, following a city council meeting that stretched into late Monday night.

DeLaBruere, who has been Newport’s city manager since March, brings a decade of experience as a volunteer firefighter and five years as an instructor for new firefighters. His new role comes after months of the Newport Fire Department struggling to fill the fire chief position, despite assistance from the Vermont League of Cities and Towns (VLCT). A significant barrier has been the lack of affordable housing in the area.

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Kevin Lacoss, who served as interim fire chief since last year, was named second assistant chief during the meeting. Lacoss had expressed his desire not to take on the permanent role, making way for DeLaBruere’s appointment.

Mayor Linda Joy Sullivan assured the public at Monday’s meeting that DeLaBruere’s additional duties would not interfere with his responsibilities as city manager, promising a seamless transition.

Despite his new responsibilities, it has not been decided if DeLaBruere will receive a salary increase.

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With a background that includes service on the Winooski and Fairfax Fire Departments, DeLaBruere also has family ties to the Newport City Fire Department, where he has served for approximately seven weeks. In an interview with the Express, DeLaBruere explained that his interim role is part of the city’s evaluation of the feasibility of one person holding both the city manager and fire chief positions.

Although there is no set timeline for revisiting this dual-role arrangement, DeLaBruere believes that as Newport grows, the city will eventually require a full-time fire department. At that point, separate positions for city manager and fire chief will likely become necessary.

For now, DeLaBruere views the current setup as a practical solution to meet the city’s immediate needs.

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