Nally Canty's new Fire Service boss

Canterbury's Fire Service has a new boss after more than a year of executive-level upheaval.

Acting assistant national Fire Service commander Brendan Nally has been appointed as Canterbury fire region manager, starting on February 11.

Nally fills the position left vacant by Rob Saunders, who was criticised for failing to lead effectively immediately after the February 2011 quake, including spending only about five minutes at the Canterbury Television rescue site.

An independent review called the Pilling report and an internal Fire Service inquiry found there was a significant discon- nect between regional area management and staff, which contributed to poor decision-making on the day of the earthquake. The internal report said a review of management structure was needed.

Four of six Canterbury Fire Service bosses who were in place when the earthquake hit have since retired or left their roles.

Saunders is now director of innovation and business integration at Fire Service national headquarters.

Former assistant national commander Trevor Brown has been acting in the Canterbury fire region role.

Brown will return to Wellington as national Fire Service operational efficiency manager.

Nally, originally from Southland, has been fire area commander of both East Otago and Hutt Valley.

Fire Service National Commander Paul Baxter said Nally's was a "critical" appointment owing to the issues aired in the reports and the "significant" changes in the management team.

"It's been 12 months of a lot of hard work to build back the trust [and] credibility. Of all the agencies, we're the only one that's reviewed itself so publicly, and that's because we're prepared to address the shortcomings," he said.

The Press