Modesto fire chief leaving for job in Bay Area

Modesto Fire Chief Jim Miguel, a 27-year veteran of the department, is leaving for a similar job in the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department.

Miguel could not be reached for comment Wednesday, but Modesto City Manager Greg Nyhoff confirmed his exit.

"Jim's departure is a great loss for the city as well as the entire community," Nyhoff said. "His dedicated leadership and passion for community service have earned him the respect of his co- workers, public officials and the surrounding community."

Miguel joined the department as a firefighter in 1982, when he was 19. He rose through the ranks until his appointment as chief in October 2002. Last year, he was appointed acting deputy city manager.

Miguel, a native of Fremont, has an associate degree from Modesto Junior College and a bachelor's degree from Cogswell Polytechnical College. He graduated from the National Fire Academy's Executive Fire Officer Program.

"Jim's collaborative, participatory style empowers and inspires others to want to do better," Nyhoff said. "I feel honored to have worked with him this past year in his role as acting deputy city manager and will miss his leadership and friendship."

Division Chief Mike Kraus, a 28-year veteran of the Modesto Fire Department, has been appointed acting fire chief until a permanent selection is made, Nyhoff said.

In Modesto, Miguel oversaw a staff of 175 as well as 189 other employees, according to the department's Web site.

The Pleasanton Weekly newspaper said Miguel will start his new job July 6, overseeing a staff of 129 that serves Pleasanton and Livermore and reports to the city managers of both cities.

Bee staff writer Patty Guerra can be reached at or 578-2343.