City of Newburgh Fire Department Chief William Horton was officially sworn in by the Newburgh City Council at Monday’s City Council meeting.
Horton joined the fire department in 2003. Horton was previously the assistant chief. Horton was appointed to replace former Acting Chief Terry Ahlers who stepped down on January 2.
Horton thanked his family, city staff, City Manager Joe Donat, Local 589, and department heads. “I learned from them and accepted from them guidance on suggestions,” said Horton. “I’m very humbled to be up here.”
Horton’s time comes in a time of difficulties as the city recently installed a layoff list of 14 firefighters. “We face a lot of problems in 2020,” said Horton. “Public safety is a foundational tenet of good government.” Horton emphasized that he will work with the council to restore the fire department to its original full staff.
Mayor Torrance Harvey spoke after Horton. “This is something we needed and wanted since my tenure on city council,” said Harvey about having a permanent fire chief.
City Manager Joe Donat has known Horton for years.
“He leads by example and does the right thing when no one is looking,” said Donat.
“Public safety is a priority,” said Harvey. “We will roll up our sleeves and get to work with you Chief Horton.” The council is currently seeking out alternative resources to finance the restoration of public safety staff. According to Harvey there are incoming new revenue sources that will help the process.