Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce announced a new chief of staff Wednesday. James Baisden, who currently serves as the Fire Chief for the Nikiski Fire Service Area will replace John Quick, who was recently appointed to Governor-elect Mike Dunleavy’s administration.
Pierce says he wanted Baisden for the job based in large part on his experience.
“He’s a longtime borough employee and I think he understands the matrix of the governance of this borough. A true leader, he’s respected throughout the borough. He runs one of the best emergency management agencies within the borough, the Nikiski Fire Department. He comes from a background of emergency services. Not too long ago after John (Quick) and I took over, we changed up, created a new organizational structure for the emergency services group and James led that group for the last year...He brings a perception of the issues that’s different and we need that.”
Baisden has been in Alaska since 1989, when he came during his service with the United States Air Force. He served in the Alaska Air National Guard before moving to Kenai in 1998 where he served as the city’s Fire Marshal. He was promoted to assistant chief in 2005 and two years later, took over as Fire Chief in Nikiski. He begins his new role in the mayor’s office on Monday.