Feb. 07--PANAMA CITY -- City Manager Ken Hammons has filled the top job for Panama City's Fire Department.
The city manager's office announced Thursday the selection of Alexander R. Baird, a 30-year veteran firefighter in Florida, as the PCFD's new fire chief. Hammons and Baird reached an agreement of a $87,500 annual salary for the position.
"I am excited and most appreciative for the opportunity to serve the citizens of Panama City," Baird said. "I had the chance to meet some of the department's fire personnel and look forward to leading these great men and women in the near future."
He and his wife will be re-locating to Panama City in the near future, according to officials.
The announcement follows a search to fill the position left vacant in October by Chief Wayne Watts.
Baird, one of four final applicants, has been with the city of Hallandale Beach since 1989 starting out as a firefighter-paramedic and scaling the ranks of fire rescue lieutenant and division chief of emergency medical services to the role of deputy fire rescue chief-operations. Throughout his tenure with Hallandale Beach, Alex coordinated community events and established programs both locally and regionally,
Baird holds a Florida Firefighter Certificate of Compliance, Associates of Science-Emergency Medical Services, Bachelor of Science-Professional Administration and a master's degree in public administration from Barry University.
Chief Jerry Prater, who is currently filling the position, was brought out of retirement when Watts resigned after an alleged "outburst" during a fire department meeting. All five members of the PCFD command staff filed a complaint claiming Watts demonstrated a hostile work environment days before he resigned.
Copyright 2014 - The News Herald, Panama City, Fla.