The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors announced Wednesday the appointment of Kenneth R. Kehmna to serve as the new fire chief for the
His appointment becomes effective Monday, and he will be paid $214,687.
Kehmna, who has 23 years of fire service experience, began his career as a firefighter with the city of Campbell in 1987. In 1993, county fire assumed responsibility for providing fire services to Campbell, bringing Kehmna and his colleagues from the city into the Santa Clara County Fire Department, according to a press release on the county's website.
Since 2007, Kehmna has held the post of deputy chief, first in charge of operations and in 2009 in charge of training. As deputy chief of operations, he managed the four department battalions and the fire investigation division. As deputy chief in charge of training, he managed all training activities to ensure firefighter readiness, the release stated.
“Chief Kehmna brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the position of fire chief,” said Dave Cortese, president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. “He is intimately familiar with fire service in Santa Clara County and dedicated to providing high-level quality services to our community.”
The Santa Clara County Fire Department is a California Fire Protection District serving Santa Clara County and the communities of Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Campbell, Cupertino, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Morgan Hill and Saratoga.
He also worked closely with recently retired fire chief Kenneth L. Waldvogel and represented county fire at the regional and statewide levels, working closely with the California Emergency Management Association and Cal Fire, according to the release.
Kehmna has a Master of Science degree in executive fire service leadership from Grand Canyon University in 2009. He graduated with honors and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in management from Saint Mary’s College in 1999. He also has an Associate of Science degree in fire science from Mission College.
“I will do my very best to preserve the proud lineage of leadership that has been the hallmark of this department,” he said. “I am excited about our future and confident that the outstanding relationship we have with labor will continue as we face new challenges and opportunities together in the coming years.”
Kehmna and his wife, Ginger, live in San Jose and have two children, John, 15, and Hannah, 14.