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Deputy chief to oversee fire department

Daniel H. Graves, 45, will serve as interim chief for up to six months, Seminole City Manager Frank Edmunds said.

By JULIANNE WU

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 27, 2000


SEMINOLE -- Daniel H. Graves, deputy chief of operations for the Seminole Fire Rescue Department since last year and a 30-year employee there, has been named interim fire chief.

He succeeds Vicki Murphy, 50, the first female fire chief in Florida, who resigned effective July 1.

Murphy, who led the fire department for four years, and Tracy Jones, 35, who resigned recently after nearly six years as the city's recreation and parks director, will be recognized for their contributions to the city at today's City Council meeting.

Graves will serve as interim chief for up to six months, said City Manager Frank Edmunds.

"Right now, we have not advertised for the job nor have we formally accepted any applications," Edmunds said. "We wanted to fill this job and the others internally for the present time. We will be assessing the situation for the next several months."

With Graves' appointment, Paul Hill, deputy chief of administration, will become interim deputy chief of operations. Also, William Vola, 43, the department's fire marshal and code administrator, will also assume the administrative duties for the department.

Edmunds said all three may be candidates for permanent promotions.

Graves, 45, began with the Seminole Fire Department as a volunteer firefighter in 1970. He was hired as a paid firefighter in 1977. Before becoming deputy chief of operations, he was the Emergency Medical Services division chief for three years, responsible for managing activities that included education for 30 paramedics and 47 emergency medical technicians.

In 1972 and 1987, he was named Firefighter of the Year by the department. In 1992, he was named the Florida State Instructor of the Year and in 1993, he was honored as Firefighter of the Year by the Seminole Chamber of Commerce.

Hill, 48, has been in fire service for 33 years, the past 27 with the Seminole Fire Rescue Department and city of Seminole. He also started as a volunteer firefighter with the department and was named Seminole Fireman of the Year in 1977.

Vola was the chief of Edgewater's fire department, near Daytona Beach, before coming to Seminole two years ago. He first got into fire service in 1974.

Although the figures will likely grow due to recent annexations, the Seminole Fire Rescue Department serves about 75,000 people in 22 square miles in the unincorporated county and within Seminole. It has four fire stations, 86 employees and an annual budget of $7.1-million.

With regard to the hiring of a new recreation and parks director, the city is already interviewing candidates.

Harry Kyne, Seminole's director of administration, said more than 40 applications have been received and about six people have been interviewed.

"We didn't put a closing date on applications," said Kyne. "We will be willing to interview any qualified applicants."

He said the salary range is between $35,330 and $49,461, depending upon experience.

The new director will oversee the workings of the new, $6.1-million recreation center -- the city's biggest municipal building project -- which is under construction.

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