DUNCANVILLE, TX – Breaking with the long established policy that Duncanville’s Fire Chief and Police Chief live within the city limits, Interim City Manager Greg Contreras hired Duncanville Assistant Fire Chief Sam Rohde to replace former Fire Chief Giordano. Rohde resides in Cedar Hill. Fire Chief David Giordano retired on May 31, 2013. Calls to the Police Chief to verify his residence city have not been returned.
No Fire or Police Chiefs have ever lived outside Duncanville while serving. The City Charter mandates the City Manager live in the city. Those supporting Rohde’s hiring emphasized that the response time from his home to Duncanville is acceptable. He lives a mere 5 1/2 miles away. Those opposing changing the long standing policy emphasize the importance of having some of the most visible city department heads buy into the community in which they oversee and serve.
Residency requirements have been upheld in federal courts so long as the basis is “rational”. “Rational” requirements include not only interest in being available for emergency response, but requiring employees to be stakeholders in their community, enhancing the tax base, improving community attitudes and cooperation, increasing loyalty to the community, and reducing absenteeism.
When asked about our fire chief not living in Duncanville, Council member Cliff Boyd stated “It is all about response time”. “He is the right man for the job”. Council member Cliff Boyd also stated,”I believe in promoting from within.” Council member Johnette Jameson stated that she does not question Sam Rhode’s qualifications, but questions why our Interim City Manager did not request resumes from qualified personnel who would be willing to move to the City of Duncanville. Council Member Jameson’s opinion is that the Police Chief, Fire Chief, and City Manager should reside in the city.