A couple of weeks ago, HFD Chief Terry Garrison announced that he would resign at the end of the year. He cited personal reasons that required a return to his native Phoenix, not political disagreements with the administration. Garrison, who was officially conferred the position in August of 2010, is the only official Fire Chief to have served during the Parker administration. Longtime chief Phil Boriskie resigned shortly after Parker took office, and Rick Flanagan became the Acting Chief in the roughly 20 month interim.
Now, the Houston Chronicle reports that Garrison will not be moving after all. The original move had been prompted by the ailing health of his young grandchild. Now, Garrison and his family have decided that the entire family should relocate to Houston, which fortuitously is the location of the best children’s hospital in the country with the Texas Medical Center (My brother, who works for Children’s Hospital Boston, may beg to differ).
The retaining of Garrison within Houston is a good move both for Mayor Parker and Houston in general. In a statement to the Chronicle article, Mayor Parker had some kind words to say about the Fire Chief and his continued service to the City:
“Chief Garrison has made great strides for our fire department, and while I know of his family’s hardships, I welcome his decision to stay in Houston to keep that momentum going. His family will have access to the best resources in the medical field, and that is part of what makes our city great.”
Mayor Parker has a vested interest in keeping Garrison on the job, thus averting any high-level fight over whether to hire a Chief from inside the department (Garrison, coming from Phoenix, was obviously outside). I’ve never really done the research on what the average firefighter thinks about Parker, but their Union certainly bears a special hatred in their hearts for her.
The astute will remember that the Firefighter’s Union endorsed Ben Hall, even though he supported pension privatization and was all-around more stingy to the firefighters than Parker. The Union even promulgated and peddled the entire “phony scandal” well past its shelf life.
And, of course, I hope the Garrison family’s sick family member has a complete and speedy recovery.