After going seven months without a permanent fire chief, Tallahassee's city manager has offered the job to Tallahassee Fire Department Capt. Cindy Dick.
"I've found a person that I am confident in and am offering the job to," Anita Favors Thompson said Friday evening.
The 39-year-old Dick, for her part, said she would relish the opportunity to lead the department, with which she started working in 1987, when she was 21.
"I have a passion not only for the career, but to this specific organization," she said.
Favors Thompson said she was not yet ready to talk about the reasons behind her choice but that she would do so as her negotiations with Dick progressed next week. The choice of fire chief rests solely with the city manager.
Dick has been a captain, one of 16, since 1997. She said one of the main challenges for the new chief would be identifying the community's needs and responding to them. Asked about her accomplishments with the department, she declined to take sole credit - saying firefighters work as a team - but mentioned her work with communications and training programs.
The fire chief position is advertised as paying between $53,000 and $123,000. Dick currently makes about $63,000. She has an associate's degree from Tallahassee Community College and is enrolled at the University of Florida as a business major.
Tallahassee's 265-employee Fire Department has been without a permanent fire chief since Tom Quillin retired from the city March 1, after 15 years in the position. Two weeks later, Quillin was named director of Leon County's Emergency Medical Services, replacing Dan Moynihan, who was fired in February in the wake of sexual-harassment charges by a female EMS employee.
Since Quillin's departure, Division Chief Steve Anderson has been acting as interim chief.
Favors Thompson said it took a lengthy search to find someone she was comfortable with. She said one of the new chief's first tasks would be to beef up upper management.
"We don't have a real strong team of people to move up into key positions," she said.
Other issues the new fire chief will have to grapple with include firefighters' discontent over their salaries and a contentious relationship between the city and county over how much unincorporated areas should pay to receive Tallahassee fire service.
Tallahassee firefighters cover a 67-square-mile area and respond to more than 19,000 fire and emergency medical calls annually through 15 stations. They partner with Leon County's EMS, and also respond to urban search-and-rescue missions and hazardous-material spills. The department's budget this year is $23.5 million.
Favors Thompson said if negotiations with Dick don't pan out, she can still turn to one of the latest batch of applications for the position. They are:
• Deputy Fire Chief Dan Spillman, 50, the Tallahassee Fire Department's second-highest ranked officer.
• Daniel Gaumont, 50, fire chief of Watertown, N.Y.
• David Daniels, the fire chief in Fulton County, Ga.
Interim chief Anderson also applied for the position, but withdrew his candidacy, said Gloria Hall-McNeil, the city's director of human resources.
Copyright, the Tallahassee Democrat
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09-26-2005, 07:40 PM #1
Tallahassee, FL-- Familiar Face Tapped for Fire Chief
09-27-2005, 02:11 PM #2
while congradulations to Cindy Dick are in order, I have to ask a few questions.
1) between the ranks of Captain and Chief of the Department, there are at least the Division Cheif and Deputy Chief positions. going from being in charge of running a firehouse (1 engine and 1 truck co) to running an entire department is quite a leap.
2) similar to #1, she has no experience as a chief officer. according to the article, there were two people who already served as fire chiefs of city departments. there is also the person who was operating as interim chief. and captain dick was more qualified to run the department?
again, there might be more that I can see with what I'm reading. maybe i'm jsut being overly cynical, but that just jumped out at me.If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!
09-27-2005, 02:58 PM #3
- Join Date
- Jun 2002
Cindy Dick ---- Interesting name.
09-27-2005, 03:33 PM #4Originally Posted by tjsnys
09-27-2005, 04:47 PM #5
- Join Date
- Mar 2004
- Memphis Tn,USA-now
I've never worried about anyone's skin color or sex,just that they are able to do the job that they hold.
If it's pushing a pencil,they need to know the ins and outs of the office they are in.
If it's rigging barges for towing,they should be able to pack a full set by themselves because I can.
If they are fighting a fire,leading a truck or engine company,being the IC or running the whole department,they should have the skills and learning needed for doing that job.
Race and gender are secondary considerations.
09-27-2005, 05:25 PM #6
but think of it this way....how many times have we wanted to go and say to our Chief.....You're a Dick! Now they can get away with it."This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?
09-30-2005, 11:49 PM #7
Cindy Dick, a captain with the Tallahassee Fire Department, will become the first woman to serve as the agency's chief when she starts in her new position Monday.
City Manager Anita Favors Thompson announced she and Dick, 39, had reached an agreement on a contract Thursday.
"I'm very excited about it," the new chief said. "I've had a great partnership with the city for 18 years, and I'm looking forward to more of the same."
Favors Thompson said she chose the veteran firefighter for her broad experience in several management roles and for the respect she enjoys among local firefighters. The new chief has worked at the 265-employee department since she was 21.
"I have a passion not only for the career, but to this specific organization," Dick said.
She replaces Division Chief Steve Anderson, who has been acting as interim chief for the past seven months. The department's permanent chief, Tom Quillin, retired from the city March1 after 15 years in the position. Two weeks later, Quillin took over Leon County's Emergency Medical Services.
Dick was chosen over three older, higher-ranked firefighters - including the Tallahassee Fire Department's second-highest ranked official, deputy chief Dan Spillman - for the job. Spillman did not return a call for this story.
"She's young, somewhat inexperienced, but extremely talented," said Lt. Travis Oaks, the head of the local firefighters union.
Oaks said Dick was "honest and transparent," and that most firefighters he's talked to agreed she'd make a great leader - a vital endorsement in a tight-knit group that often eats and sleeps together in the fire stations.
"We're a family," Oaks said. "That's why we needed someone who leads the pack in loyalty, commitment and can build trust in the group."
One of Dick's first tasks will be helping to negotiate salaries and benefits for the firefighters. The bargaining union and the city have been at loggerheads over a pay package for months, and further mediation is scheduled in the coming weeks.
Dick will be making $85,000 a year, and will be eligible for an extra $3,000 after six months.
Copyright, the Tallahassee Democrat
If you are a minority or a medic they will bend over backwards for you.
10-02-2005, 03:06 AM #8
Captain to Chief
In my ft department we had a Captain (6 mons) promoted to Deputy Chief, he is also a County Councilman , so it's not that rare to see an officer jumped to higher rank within the fire department.
Hopefully this move is for the right reasons, that a younger member (39-18 years on the job) may be more open to new ideas and challenges. Good luck brothers and sisters, maybe you can get the contract signed now! Stay Safe and Keep Low, we allcome home, jack.
10-23-2005, 04:29 AM #9Originally Posted by DrParasite
I have worked for the Tallahassee Fire Dept. for over 14 years. During that time I have seen the morale of this department steadily decline. There have been many, many issues that our previous Chief(s) have either refused to act upon, ignored completely, or, as in the case of issues regarding such things as contract negotiations and new station construction (as mandated by ISO) have refused to fight for at all!
I realize that the politics of city government and budgetary constraints can severly tie the hands of any Fire Chief, but when offers of new firefighter positions by the city commissioners are flatly declined by the Chief, and promotional vacancies remain open for very often 4, 6 or 8 months or more, something is definitely wrong and something needs to be done!
I worked with Cindy when she was a firefighter, and I worked for her after she made Lieutenant and again later after she made Captain. I have never had an issue with her ability or with her motivations for her actions.
She has experience both in supression and in administration, where she has been assigned for the last several years, dealing with many different aspects of our department.
Cindy is very intelligent, she is honest and she is fair. She will tell it like it is. Simply ask her and you will know where she stands on any particular issue. She won't give you the run-a-round or some ambiguous answer that smacks of political double-talk. You may not necessarilly like the answer, but her position will be clear.
I honestly believe she is very well qualified and completely capable of taking on the role of Fire Chief. She has a great passion and pride for the T.F.D. and wants it to continue to move forward. She also has the admiration, respect and support of virtually the entire dept.
In the past three weeks or so since the announcement was made that she had been chosen as our new Chief, there has been a very noticable aire of excitement and anticipation that our department has finally turned the corner. We feel we now have a person in the front office who will be fair, honest and open with us and will work as hard as she possibly can to make all of us in the Tallahassee Fire Department as proud of this Deptartment as we are of this honorable profession.
The future is looking much brighter for the T.F.D.!
10-23-2005, 10:34 AM #10Originally Posted by TrojanHorseOriginally Posted by ThNozzleMan
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10-23-2005, 11:16 AM #11
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