Lanza is a retired assistant chief for the Broward Sheriff's Fire Rescue in Broward County, Fla. He worked for that department for 33 years before retiring in October 2007.
“He’s been in the firefighting ranks for about three decades," Rapundalo said. "He’s got a lot of experience. we were looking for breadth and someone who was a leader who could assess some changes if necessary and a strong manager.”
Rapundalo said the announcement will be made soon unless something unexpected comes up.
“The intent was to bring somebody on board as soon as they could so they could be instrumental in the budget process. We have to have a budget approved by the end of May and it goes into affect July 1. There could be some changes made to the Fire Department so it’s imperative to have a fire chief in place,” Rapundalo said.
The city has told the firefighters' union it is considering laying off 19 people in July and eliminating another vacant position to help deal with a budget shortfall. Earlier this year the firefighters' union accepted pay cuts to avoid the layoff of 13 firefighters. The city also plans to eliminate 17 jobs in the police department.
Former Fire Chief Samuel Hopkins retired last year.
Rapundalo said Dominick Lanza was chosen because of his management skills and his ability to interact with administration and rank and file firefighters.
“We were looking for someone who had experience with fiscal challenges. Someone who could assess the organization and determine what kind of changes could be made without compromising services and response time,” Rapundalo said.
Because it's not official yet, not all city officials had heard the news Saturday.
“Nobody told me,” council member Sabra Briere, D-1st Ward, said.
Briere said that because she works during the day she was unable to attend the interviews for prospective candidates.
“I think it’s good news if it true,” she said.
Lanza posted the following message on his Facebook page Friday: "I am happy to say I have been selected as the new Fire Chief for the City of Ann Arbor Michigan a great department that is over 120 years old and a group of dedicated men and women I will be honored to be their Chief."
John Garcia is a freelance writer for AnnArbor.com.