If he is promoted to Minneapolis fire chief, Bryan Tyner told City Council members, he plans to focus on building firefighters' technical skills and on improving the department's diversity and leadership training opportunities.

Tyner, a 25-year veteran of the department, currently serves as assistant chief of administration. He is in line to succeed current Fire Chief John Fruetel, who is retiring later this year.

In a public hearing Thursday, Tyner told council members he believes he would be inheriting a strong department that has made "great strides" in recent years.

"I actually think that there are opportunities for us to do more and to do better," Tyner said. "And, of course, I plan on continuing and expanding upon our efforts on diversity and inclusion."

That means racial and gender diversity, but also "diversity of thought" and "diversity of experience," he said.

Mayor Jacob Frey nominated Tyner to serve as chief after a national search. The City Council's Public Health & Safety Committee gave its preliminary approval Thursday, and Tyner's selection is scheduled to go before the full council Dec. 4.

Speaking in support of Tyner's nomination Thursday were a mix of current and former colleagues, childhood friends and community leaders.

Among his supporters was Mark Lakosky, president of the city firefighters union. Lakosky described Tyner as someone who has a deep knowledge of Minneapolis and is not afraid to have difficult discussions.

"He doesn't shut you down. He's open-minded, and he's up for discussion on everything and, certainly, with the understanding that there is going to be times where we don't agree on everything," Lakosky.

Tyner's hearing, which went smoothly, was a sharp contrast to a hearing earlier this summer, in which the fire union blasted Fruetel's response to the riots that followed George Floyd's death. They questioned why Fruetel didn't bring in more reinforcements as buildings throughout the city burned.

Before serving as assistant chief, Tyner held several other positions in the department, including firefighter, fire motor operator, fire marshal, fire captain and battalion chief.