Kauai News

Fire Commission Appoints Michael Gibson as Fire Chief

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Michael Gibson
By Amanda Kurth

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story incorrectly labeled Gibson as interim fire chief. It has been corrected to the proper title.

Kauai’s Fire Commission unanimously appointed Deputy Chief Michael Gibson as Kauai Fire Chief during its meeting Thursday following the announcement of Chief Steven Goble’s departure from the department.

Goble’s last day will be June 23. Gibson will pick up the mantle on June 24. Goble announced he was leaving KFD last month, citing family health concerns.


“Even if I’m new, what I’ve seen so far is that I like what he has done,” said Commissioner Michael Martinez of Goble. “He has worked so hard to be there for the community, his department and ocean safety.”

Before the commission voted on who to appoint, Goble made his recommendations at a closed-door executive meeting while the public went on recess.

Gibson was ultimately selected as chief.

County Fire Commission met Thursday, June 16, to discuss appointment of interim fire chief. (PC: Amanda Kurth)

When asked if a probationary period could be implemented for Gibson to guarantee he is the right fit, the commission was deferred to the county’s Human Resources Manager Janine Rapozo.

“The appointment of the Fire Chief is at will. At any point in time, the Commission could evaluate that particular person to ensure that they are meeting your expectations,” said Rapozo. “Whether you call it probationary or an evaluation period, it is within your power as a Commission to decide that, however, any incumbent must understand those parameters.”

It took the commission two years to select Goble as fire chief when he assumed the position in 2020. Typically, the county conducts a local and nationwide search among qualifying applicants when an interim replacement isn’t recommended.


“I would hate to see us get behind again,” said Vice Chair Jen Chahanovich. “A direct appointment today would be an advantage compared to the amount of time we spent finding Goble.”

Gibson will be placed on a probationary period of six months. He will face a background check, a look into drug history and possibly a polygraph test.

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