Philly fire commissioner tapped to be city’s next managing director

Thiel, who has led the city’s fire department since 2016, says he’s ready to take on the challenge. “As our folks will say in the fire department," he said, “‘We got this.’”

Listen 1:00
Managing director designee Adam Thiel looks on as Mayor-elect Cherelle Parker announces his appointment.

Managing director designee Adam Thiel (left) looks on as Mayor-elect Cherelle Parker announces his appointment. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

From Philly and the Pa. suburbs to South Jersey and Delaware, what would you like WHYY News to cover? Let us know!

Philadelphia Mayor-elect Cherelle Parker has named Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel as her pick for managing director.

The holdover from the Kenney administration said he was thinking about leaving the city when he was tapped for the job.

“I have to say, and this is 100% true, I never expected to stand with you as managing director. Frankly I was getting ready to step back and think about the next challenge and think about my next challenge in my 32-, now 33-year career in fire safety, emergency management, and public service.”

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

Parker said Thiel is the right person for the job.

“Thiel is a big thinker, he sees the big picture and how all of the collaboration at the federal state and local level, and how all of that collaboration is essential.”

Thiel said he’s energized to take on the city’s problems in the new year.

“Our city feels like it’s in crisis sometimes, and that’s what I do. We want to get to a place where we are being strategic and want to achieve a vision which I know we can have a safer, cleaner greener city. It feels like it’s a crisis right now for folks and that’s what we do. As our folks will say in the fire department, ‘We got this.’ And with Mayor-elect [Parker] and this great time, ‘We’ve got this.’”

A new fire commissioner will have to be appointed. Parker administration officials say they are working on Thiel’s replacement.

The administration has not formally released a plan for its first 100 days, although Parker said one is in the works.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

“We will be releasing it on day one when we assume the office, and we get sworn in we are going to release and a 100-day action plan,” Parker said.

She added there is a can-do attitude in her administration.

“First and foremost, you have to be willing to believe in the mission the vision, the problems are so big there is a lack of hope. Right now people don’t think that Philly can work.”

She would not make public the contents of the action document, which will set the tone of the first several months of her term.

Get daily updates from WHYY News!

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal