Cov­ing­ton look­ing for new fire chief

The Covington News - - Front page - By Gabriel Khouli gkhouli@cov­

Cov­ing­ton is ac­cept­ing ap­pli­ca­tions for a new fire chief to re­place Don Floyd, who will re­tire on June 15 af­ter nearly 40 years with the depart­ment.

The city is look­ing for ap­pli­cants with a bach­e­lor's de­gree in pub­lic man­age­ment, busi­ness ad­min­is­tra­tion, fire sci­ence technology or fire safety en­gi­neer­ing or who have a re­lated de­gree and have taken col­lege-level cour­ses in fire ad­min­is­tra­tion. The po­si­tion will pay $62,296 to $83,491, depend­ing on ex­pe­ri­ence.

Ap­pli­cants should have 10 years of high-level com­mand ex­pe­ri­ence, three years of which must have been equiv­a­lent to fire cap­tain or higher rank, in­clud­ing at least one year per­form­ing ad­min­is­tra­tive work. Full re­quire­ments can be found at the city's web­site by click­ing on the “De­part­ments” tab and se­lect­ing the Hu­man Re­sources page.

City Man­ager Steve Hor­ton said Mon­day that the city will miss Floyd’s nearly four decades of ex­pe­ri­ence and ser­vice. Hor­ton said the city would like to make a hire by March to give the new chief a few months to work with Floyd to be­come ac­quainted with the city and the depart­ment’s or­ga­ni­za­tional struc­ture.

“I’ve said this be­fore, we can go out and hire any­body for any job, who has the (nec­es­sary) ed­u­ca­tional back­ground or ex­per­tise from an­other city, but when they come in, they know noth­ing about Cov­ing­ton. They need time to get ac­cli­mated to our or­ga­ni­za­tional struc­ture, but also the lay­out of town,” he said.

Floyd said Tues­day that he be­lieves there are qual­i­fied re­place­ments within the depart­ment and he hopes the city will choose an in­ter­nal op­tion. Hor­ton said the city will look at both in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal can­di­dates to find the best can­di­date.

“That’s just one of those things, in fair­ness to pub­lic and the tax­payer who pay our bills, to look in both those places. We want to make sure we’re tak­ing a re­spon­si­ble ap­proach,” he said.

Floyd proud of time in Cov­ing­ton

Floyd joined the Cov­ing­ton Fire Depart­ment as a fire­fighter in 1972, af­ter serv­ing in the U.S. Coast Guard. He worked up through the ranks and was ap­pointed fire chief in 1999.

Un­der his lead­er­ship, the depart­ment has im­proved its fire in­surance of­fice rat­ing, ISO, to a Class 3 rank­ing, the third high­est. He said he be­lieved that less than 10 per­cent of cities of sim­i­lar size have achieved such a high rank­ing. The rat­ing re­duces the price that busi- ness and home­own­ers have to pay for fire in­surance.

He said he was also proud of the fact that the Cov­ing­ton depart­ment was the fourth fire depart­ment in the state to be in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­cred­ited by the non-profit Cen­ter for Pub­lic Safety Ex­cel­lence. Floyd was also per­son­ally ac­cred­ited.

Fire ser­vice is a dif­fi­cult field be­cause ev­ery time the depart­ment goes on a call, they see peo­ple at their worst.

“Whether they’re los­ing their prop­erty or hav­ing a med­i­cal emer­gency, most of the time we don’t have any con­trol over that. The only thing we can do is mit­i­gate the prob­lem,” Floyd said. “That’s prob­a­bly the worst part of the job.”

The thing he’ll miss the most is the ca­ma­raderie he de­vel­oped with his fel­low Cov­ing­ton fire­fight­ers as well as fire of­fi­cials all across the coun­try.

“I’ve fos­tered a lot of friend­ships with dif­fer­ent fire­fight­ers and chiefs across this coun­try, from Orange County, Calif., to Maryville, Tenn., to Braden­ton, Fla. to Ver­mont,” he said. “That’s some­thing you can’t put a value on.”

Floyd, 61, said he was re­tir­ing so he could spend more time with his grand­chil­dren.

“I got a lot of liv­ing still to do, and I want to spend a lot of time with my fam­ily,” he said.


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