Belton Hires New Fire Chief

Belton Hires New Fire Chief
May 20, 2020
Chief FontenotFollowing a nationwide search over the past six months, City Manager Sam Listi has announced the recommended appointment of Jonathon Fontenot as the new Fire Chief of the Belton Fire Department. Fontenot is currently Assistant Fire Chief of Operations and Training in Tomball, Texas.

“I am convinced that our interviews of 10 people has resulted in the best candidate to serve the Belton community,” Listi said. “We look forward to Chief Fontenot beginning his service here.”

Fontenot is originally from Taylor and has extensive experience in the fire service. He has been Assistant Chief in Tomball for 10 years. He previously served as an Instructor in the fire program at Austin Community College, and as the Emergency Management Coordinator and Interim Chief in Taylor. Fontenot, a U.S. Army veteran, also served as Chief of Training for a fire and emergency service contractor in Iraq.

Fontenot has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Fire Administration. He is a Firefighter/EMT-B.

“I am extremely grateful for this opportunity to join the City’s leadership team,” Fontenot said. “I look forward to leading a Fire Department that is known for its professionalism and excellence.”

The process to recruit a Fire Chief began following the retirement of Chief Bruce Pritchard in November 2019. For such a vital position, the City Council contracted with SGR Consultants to assist with the process. Assistant Fire Chief Wesley Gilbreath has served as Interim Chief.

“Assistant Fire Chief Gilbreath has done an excellent job,” Listi said. “I truly appreciate his service.”

SGR posted the position twice before the selection of Fontenot. The second search began on Jan. 29, 2020, and was complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the initial search 38 candidates submitted applications, five of whom received interviews. Fontenot was one of 37 candidates and five interviews during the second search.

The interview process was extensive and included a team of City of Belton staff members, as well as Temple Fire Chief Mitch Randles and Belton Mayor Pro Tem Wayne Carpenter. The recommendation to hire Fontenot was unanimous.

The appointment of Fontenot as Fire Chief will be considered by the Belton City Council at its next scheduled meeting on Tuesday, May 26. He is scheduled to begin working in Belton on June 15.