Villaraigosa to Name Millage Peaks as New Fire Chief, Sources Say
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa later today intends to nominate Battalion Chief Millage Peaks to head the Los Angeles Fire Department, according to sources close to the department speaking under the condition of anonymity. Peaks, a 33-year veteran of the department will replace Chief Barry Douglas, who will retire this weekend.
Currently the Chief of Battalion 4 (LAX, Venice and other Pacific coast and inland neighborhoods), Peaks joined the department in 1976 and was promoted to be a captain in 1984. Eight years later, he became a Battalion Chief in South L.A. for a short stint before entering a more administrative role as Employee Relations Officer for two years. He then continued building his skill set by taking various roles including Planning Section Commander, Operations Chief Executive Officer and, again, as Battalion Chief for a few times.
Peaks, an African American, has seen the department through two major cases of discrimination allegations. In 1995, he testified to a City Council committee about discrimination against female recruits. More recently, he was suspected of being the deposed top official who thought the harassment of Tennie Pierce appeared to be racially motivated. Pierce sued the city after a firehouse prank involved him eating dog food. The case was settled, but if it did go to court, the official's deposition could have been used against the city.
Villaraigosa will officially announce Peaks' nomination at an 11 a.m. press conference. The City Council must confirm him before he can officially take over, however, he will be appointed as the interim chief so there is no gap in leadership of the department.