Former City Fire Chief takes over Habitat for Humanity operations

Baxter resigned last month after heated disputes with City Manager

Former Charlottesville Fire Chief Andrew Baxter, who resigned last month over heated disputes and differences of opinion with Charlottesville City Manager Tarron Richardson, has a new gig responding to house calls, only these houses won't be on fire.

In a release today, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville says Baxter will become their new Chief Operating Officer.

"We are so excited to welcome Andrew to the team,” said Habitat CEO/President Dan Rosensweig. “Not only is he a logistics expert, he is about as fine a human being as you could ever meet.”

Baxter served as Charlottesville's Fire Chief from 2015 to June of 2020, but had a falling out with Richardson, revealed in emails obtained by the Daily Progress.

“I believe in my heart that it [is] this specific type of behavior that has led to a steady loss of experienced leaders since Richardson’s arrival last May,” Baxter wrote. “[A]nd, if left unchecked, will ultimately drive our City government toward a state of mediocrity never before encountered in this caring, dynamic resource-rich community.”

Following Baxter's resignation, Richardson appointed Emily Pelliccia, who has been with the Charlottesville Fire Department since 1994, as interim fire chief, according to a news release from the city, which also thanked Chief Baxter for his "dedicated service to our community."

According to Habitat, Baxter believes this new job is a natural extension of the work he did as a paramedic and fire chief.

“Probably the single most important foundational element to a safe, healthy, resilient person, family, or community is safe, stable, and affordable housing,” said Baxter in a the release. “For much of my career, my focus was on response. After a while you figure out that many of those responses could be avoided by addressing the root causes of those emergencies. it is clear that the lack of safe and affordable housing in a community is a significant source of instability that leads to many other challenges.”

According to Habitat, they are "currently preparing to ramp up our home construction program from twenty houses per year to more than forty despite the ongoing pandemic," and believe Baxter’s leadership experience "will help the organization to dramatically expand our impact on the community in a safe and responsible way."