CES enters recruitment process after chief resigns

Posted: Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Central Emergency Services is once again looking for a new chief, a brief 2 1/2 years after a five-month nationwide recruitment effort brought Jeff Tucker from Florida.

Tucker, whose last day on the job will be Nov. 17, resigned late last week, according to Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Dale Bagley.

Bagley said he was not at liberty to discuss personnel issues, and Tucker also declined to comment about a reason for the resignation.

The mayor appointed Steve O'Connor to be the interim chief of CES until a replacement is found.

"We will do the normal procedure of advertising for someone through the service area board. It usually takes two to three months," Bagley said.

He also said he did not foresee any interruption in services to central peninsula residents and added, "There's not going to be any change in policies at CES."

Reached at his home Tuesday, Tucker said he is "absolutely sad to leave," and said he is looking for other opportunities at this time.

"I will definitely miss the folks (at CES)," he said.

Tucker had been recruited from the Gainesville Fire and Rescue in Florida in June 2002, where he was special operations chief.

Originally from Aurora, Ill., outside of Chicago, Tucker has been in emergency services for more than 22 years. He began as a paramedic for an ambulance service and later became a firefighter.

Tucker said emergency services is his chosen profession and his goal is to stay in it. He also is working to complete a master's degree in public administration.

O'Connor, who actually retired from CES Sept. 1, has been staying on as a temporary employee until a replacement is found to fill his former position as assistant chief.

"I've been asked to be interim chief," O'Connor said.

The 23-year veteran of the borough emergency services department, O'Connor started as the director of central peninsula emergency services in March 1988, when he left the Nikiski Fire Department where he had worked since October 1981.

"I see my job mostly as carrying the department forward and moving our projects along until the new chief arrives," O'Connor said.

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