LEAGUE CITY — There was some apprehension when League City, which has a volunteer fire department, hired its first paid chief. But a little more than a year later, praise is easy to come by for Chief Brad Goudie.
Whether it’s representing the department at council meetings to responding fires, Goudie has been a success said city officials and department members.
Goudie came to the city in September 2011 after the city spent months searching and narrowing down a list of potential candidates. Goudie, previously the Deputy Fire Chief for the Roanoke Fire Department, came in just as the city was to merge its emergency medical services department, fire marshal’s office and fire department. Goudie had experience in each of those three areas, a bachelor’s degree in emergency administration, disaster planning from the University of North Texas and nearly two decades of experience, and city leaders said he would be an excellent fit.
“He’s been a good addition,” Mayor Tim Paulissen said.
There was some concern from the volunteer force when the city first hired Goudie as a paid chief but, Paulissen said, he has not heard any complaints since Goudie was hired.
“I think I’ve gotten (the volunteer’s) confidence that we are not here to run off the volunteers,” Goudie said. “We are there to work together and do what’s right for the community.”
As the city grows, the fire department has had to grow and adapt as well. Since Goudie joined, the city has acquired six new fire trucks and is in the process of updating and building new stations to accommodate the growth on the city’s west side.
Goudie has also lowered the department’s response time by about a minute and a half in just over a year. When he first arrived in League City, the department was able turn out and have somebody on scene with in about eight and a half minutes, he said. Now, that is down to seven minutes.
In 2012, the department answered 1,030 calls.
The department’s new daytime staffing program, where there are volunteers at the central station from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, has helped reduce those response times, Goudie said.
“He’s been the best thing that’s happened to us in a long time,” said Ray Bigonesse, League City Volunteer Fire Department president.
Opinions about a paid fire chief varied widely within the volunteer force before Goudie stared, Bigonesse said. But now, more than a year later, any critics have been silenced.
The chief is well-liked and extremely hardworking, Bigonesse said. He represents the department well in front of the city council and has been able to get funding for projects that the department had a hard time getting the needed dollars for in the past, he said.
But Goudie is not one to stay behind the desk either, he said.
Goudie can be soft-spoken and not one to brag or toot his own horn. But Bigonesse said the 48-year-old Goudie is a great operation commander and isn’t afraid to do the dirty work.
“I’ve been on fire scenes where we pull up on a fire and he is there waiting and grabs a nozzel and goes,” Bigonesse said. “And it’s made the difference on several occasions.”