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Fire Board swears in assistant chief

March 27, 2013
By BOB PETCHER ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

The Fort Myers Beach Fire Control District has a new man that will be assisting Beach Fire Chief Darren White with operations and personnel.

Tom May was sworn in as assistant chief at the Board of Fire Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, March 19. Before his assignment, he was a member of the East Lake Tarpon Special Fire Control District (1981-2012) and served as assistant fire chief for that district from June 2011 to Sept. 2012, before retiring from the Pinellas County fire rescue.

"I am honored and excited to have been selected as the assistant fire chief," he wrote in his professional biography. "We have an enthusiastic and energized department, seeking the opportunity to perform to its highest ability. I look forward to working with all members of the department and community to develop solutions to current and future challenges."

Article Photos

Beach Fire Chief Darren White (r) is pleased to finally have help at the administrative end with the hiring of Assistant Fire Chief Tom May.

According to Beach Fire records, May was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and moved to Palm Harbor (Fla.) when his father retired as a New York City police officer. When Tarpon Springs began a volunteer fire department, he became the youngest member at age 16.

Upon high school graduation, May enlisted in the Navy, completed his tour of duty, was hired by the East Lake Fire Rescue and accepted an early retirement buyout after 28 years of service.

After retirement and a vacation, East Lake Union officials approached him to run for fire commissioner. He won easily, but resigned his seat seven months later to assist East Lake Fire Rescue through a transition process as its assistant fire chief. After his 16-month contract was fulfilled, he once again retired.

"The fire service has been and always will be my passion. There is life after the fire service, but there is no life like the fire service, which is why I was seeking employment in my chosen profession," he wrote.

The FMB Fire Control District began the application process for assistant fire chief in November 2012. That process featured a supplemental questionnaire to 15 suggested applicants where five were chosen then narrowed to three applicants for interviews. There were no applicants from within the Beach Fire Department.

Beach Fire Chief Darren White does not know May that well yet, but he knows people up in the fire district where May spent more than 30 years.

"After contacting them, they all had nothing but positive things to say about him," said White. "We think he will make a great addition to our department."

Beach Fire adds three firefighters/paramedics

Three more firefighters/paramedic personnel have been added to the FMB Fire Control District. A swearing-in ceremony was held at the Beach Fire commission meeting Tuesday.

Jeff Lundy, Benjamin Glenn and Daniel Batista are the new hires.

"That brings us up to 15 per shift or 45 total," said Chief White. "We are happy that our staffing levels are back up to almost perfect levels. Ideally, we would like to have 16 per shift."

New business: Air packs and receptionist

The Beach Fire Control District board approved administration to purchase new air packs using equipment reserve funds.

"The Scott Self-Contained Breathing apparatuses replace the current ones that we had from 1997," said Chief White. "It's an updating of our equipment."

Beach Fire was also approved to hire a receptionist for administrative support. This position will move another administrative staff member to help in other office functions.

"We received approval to hire a new administrative assistant/receptionist," said White. "Tammy (Peacock) will now be classified as an administrative services director, which will entail basically more of the administrative services, health insurance, retirements, and such."



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