Newburyport is a small coastal city in Essex County Massachusetts, located 35 miles northeast of Boston, with a population of approximately 18,300 residents. A historic seaport along the Merrimac River, with a vibrant tourism industry, Newburyport includes part of Plum Island. Newburyport has a total area of 10.6 square miles, of which 8.4 square miles is land and 2.2 square miles is water. The population density is 2,086 people per square mile. Since its founding as a city in 1851, Newburyport has been run by a mayor with a two-year term and an 11-member City Council. The current mayor of Newburyport is Sean Reardon, and the next election year for Mayor is 2025. Newburyport has a general fund budget of approximately $79 million.

The Newburyport Fire Department provides a variety of emergency and non-emergency services designed to protect the lives and property of Newburyport residents and visitors through aggressive fire control, quality prehospital non-ambulance transport medical care, fire prevention, public education and effective scene management. The Fire Department has a 42-member staff, including one Deputy Chief, four Lieutenants, 28 full-time firefighters, four Dispatchers and five Call Firefighters with an approximate annual budget of $4.4 million. The Fire Fighters and Lieutenants are members of the Local 827 International Association of Firefighters (AFL-CIO) Union. All members of Local 827 retain their civil service rights regulated by Chapter 31 of the General Laws of Massachusetts.

General Summary: The city is seeking a dynamic, progressive public safety leader with solid management and communication skills. Applicants must have experience and interest in enhancing community relationships and partnerships. The Fire Chief plans, organizes, and directs the operations of the Newburyport Fire Department, its staff, and equipment in the protection of life and property, in the prevention and extinguishing of fires, and in the safe handling of hazardous materials in addition to other related work as required. The Fire Chief performs complex and highly responsible duties requiring a high level of initiative and independent judgment. The Chief reports to and works under the direction of the Mayor. The Fire Chief assumes responsibility for developing and achieving the Fire Department goals and serves as a key public safety leader within the community. The city anticipates signing a five-year initial contract with the Fire Chief, who will be subject to annual performance reviews.

Essential Job Functions:

  • Oversees the general operations of the Fire Department. Serves as Incident Commander at all major emergencies.
  • Develops major department policies; implements such plans and policies; assesses their effectiveness and recommends modifications as required.
  • Assists city grant writer with proposals and provides data and information as needed.
  • Oversees fire prevention and safety education activities within the city. Enforces Massachusetts General Laws, federal and state regulations, and city ordinances.
  • Oversees operational and technology improvements and vision for the department.
  • Interacts with federal and state officials to represent the interests of the city and the Fire Department. Represents the department within the city government decision-making processes.
  • Develops, recommends, and defends department budget requests; authorizes and expends funds consistent with city policies and procedures; monitors budgets to ensure compliance with approved levels and takes corrective actions as required.
  • Performs related work as required and assigned by the mayor or as noted in the official position description.
  • Serves as the city’s Emergency Management Coordinator.

Minimum Entrance Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in fire science or related field preferred; and a minimum of ten years of progressively responsible experience in fire/rescue, emergency management, emergency medical services, and management; with a minimum of five years at command level or higher.
  • Possession of a valid motor vehicle operator’s license.
  • Ability to relocate within a 10 mile radius of work location.
  • EMT Certification, Certified Fire Officer, Certified Fire Inspector, and Certified Fire Instructor required; Executive Fire Officer Certification desired. Firefighter I/II preferred.
  • Thorough knowledge of the current practices and principles of fire service management and emergency medical service response in a municipal setting. Extensive knowledge of the laws, rules, and regulations relating to fire protection.
  • Comprehensive technical knowledge of emergency medical response functions.
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with city officials, subordinates, the general public and other law enforcement officials.
  • Ability to work in a high stress environment on a regular basis. Ability to remain calm, concentrate and perform all responsibilities in a competent manner at all times.
  • Strong managerial and organizational skills and excellent fiscal skills required. Experience with labor law, collective bargaining (Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 150E), and managing a civil service organization.
  • Ability to pass a pre-employment physical, drug screen, psychological exam, extensive background check and interview and applicant selection process.

This posting is not meant to be inclusive of all job duties or qualification requirements. For a full job description, please visit:

By city ordinance, a steering committee appointed by the Mayor and approved by the City Council will review all candidate applications and determine which candidates to interview.  Selected candidates will be evaluated using an assessment center to examine their knowledge, skills, and abilities, including without limitation their technical, tactical, professional, managerial and strategic skills. The screening committee shall submit to the Mayor the names of the three to five candidates best suited for the duties of Fire Chief based on the results of the assessment center process. The Mayor will interview and choose a candidate for Fire Chief who must be confirmed by City Council.

Strict adherence to the application requirements and procedures is expected.

Candidates meeting the qualifications and expectations as noted above may submit a cover letter, resume and any other relevant materials to the address below by Monday, March 20:

To apply, please send cover letter and resume to the Director of Human Resources, Newburyport City Hall, 60 Pleasant St., PO Box 550, Newburyport, MA 01950 or email to

The city of Newburyport is an equal opportunity employer. The city of Newburyport does not discriminate in hiring or employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, age, genetic information, national origin, ancestry, disability, veteran status or membership in the armed services, marital status or any other protected category under federal or state law.