During a challenging year, Maui Fire Chief ‘exceeds’ all areas of review in annual evaluation

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Maui Fire Chief Bradford Ventura. (Wailea, Maui – 3.8.24) PC: Office of Gov. Josh Green.

Maui Fire Chief Bradford Ventura exceeded all areas of review in his annual evaluation conducted by the Maui Fire and Public Safety Commission. Details of the report were shared at Thursdayʻs commission meeting held at the Admin Conference Room at the Kahului Fire Station.

The review is mandated by the Maui County Charter, and took into consideration Chief Ventura’s demonstration of leadership, problem solving, job knowledge and performance in achieving goals of the department. The rating covers the period from January 2023 to February 2024.

In all six categories of review, Chief Ventura received an “exceeds” response from commissioners. They had the option of selecting one of the following: substandard, needs improvement, satisfactory or exceeds.

The year started off with the tragic passing of Firefighter Tre’ Evans-Dumaran, and was followed by the devastating wildfires in Lahaina and Kula in August of 2023.

“This year has presented significant challenges for the department, marked by the first line of duty death, and the destructive Maui wildfires,” said Commission Chair Lisa Vares. She said the department is in need of additional resources to manage the volume of public information requests that she said exceed the department’s capacity to respond promptly. “That is the only area of improvement that we need to be addressed, but otherwise we’re proud to say that every one of these superseded our goals and expectations,” said Vares.


Commissioners credited Ventura for successfully managing equipment upgrades, recruitment and retention of employees, oversight of capital improvement projects, spearheading the department’s wellness program, collaborating with nonprofits for enhanced emergency response, and effective problem solving.

“I recognize firefighting… is a team sport, said Chief Ventura. “I don’t get any of this done by myself. So it’s a credit to the leadership at every level of our department,” he said.

Chief Ventura was credited with consistently adhering to the department’s apparatus replacement schedule, ensuring timely acquisition of new engines for Kula and Lānaʻi, along with the wildland truck for Hoʻolehua.

“This proactive management of equipment upgrades underscores his reliability in fulfilling departmental commitments and achieving operational objectives within designated timelines,” said Vares. 

In the realm of recruitment and HR, the commission said the chief demonstrated “exceptional reliability” by overseeing successful completion of recruit classes for both fire and ocean safety departments, resulting in graduation of new members. “Furthermore, his continuous efforts to minimize civilian vacancies through ongoing recruitment initiatives showcases his ability to maintain staffing levels effectively and adapt to evolving workforce demands,” according to the evaluation.


The chief was also acknowledged for his work in overseeing various capital improvement projects, including the construction of apparatus bays on Lānaʻi, in Hoʻolehua and Makawao. Additionally, the commission said his involvement in planning and design for the Pūkoʻo Fire Station and management of property demolition and abandoned vehicle removal at the Haʻikū Fire Station “highlights commitment to achieving infrastructure goals while effectively managing project timelines and resources.”

“Chief Ventura enhanced departmental infrastructure and functionality through innovative problem solving—an example of this would be the planning of the new admin facility coming down the line,” said Vares.

The development and implementation of an employee wellness and resiliency program was also listed as a strong point. “This not only fosters a supportive environment, but also strengthens internal relationships within the department by promoting well-being and resiliency among the staff,” said Vares.

In the area of relationships, Chief Ventura is credited with initiating a collaborative partnership with the Daniel Sayre Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing emergency response capabilities. “By forging this relationship, Chief Ventura exhibits a proactive approach to external engagement, fostering positive connections and support networks beyond,” the commission said.

The following areas were considered during the review:


1. Evaluating reliability and achieving goals: Measures the chief’s performance in completing assignments in a timely manner, ability to work effectively with little direction, keeping commitments, accepting responsibility, being flexible and when requested, adjusting to varying job situations. This also measures the fire chief’s performance in achieving program measurements, goals and objectives.

2. Relationships with others: Measures the fire chief’s development and maintenance of positive constructive internal and external relationships. Consideration should be given to the fire chief’s demonstrated willingness to function as a team player, give and receive constructive criticism, resolve conflicts, recognize needs and sensitivities of others, and treat others in a fair and equitable manner.

3. Job knowledge: Measures the fire chief’s demonstrated job relevant knowledge and essential skills such as work policies, practices, procedures, laws, customer service and technical information as well as the relationship of work to the organization’s mission.

4. Problem solving decision making: Measures the extent to which the fire chief is self directed, resourceful and creative in performing job duties. Also measures the the chief’s performance in identifying, understanding and resolving problems, following through with assignments, and modifying procedures to provide improved performance in accomplishing duties.

5. Planning organizing, setting priorities: Measure the fire chief’s performance in prioritizing assignments to minimize crisis situations. Shows foresight to prevent potential problems in developing contingency work plans for short- and/or long-range plans. Identifies and utilizes resources and personnel effectively. Develops goals of a department consistent with the mission of the county. Proposes and reviews bench marks to monitor work progress and follows up on assignments.

6. Leadership: Measures the fire chief’s performance in effectively managing programs and projects, employees, budget, technology and organizational change to produce positive results. Motivating management of others to achieve the mission, vision, goals and objectives of the organization. It also reflects initiative, the drive for excellence, special job knowledge, and the willingness to accept and seek responsibility, as well as taking calculated and measured risks.

Wendy Osher
Wendy Osher leads the Maui Now news team. She is also the news voice of parent company, Pacific Media Group, having served more than 20 years as News Director for the company’s six Maui radio stations.
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