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El Paso Fire chief resigns; third City department head to leave in 3 months

El Paso Fire Chief Otto Drozd has submitted his resignation to the City of El Paso with an effective date of Nov. 23, 2012.

He is the third head of a City department to resign or retire in three months.

Daryl Cole retired as director of the Department of Transportation in August to take a job in Arizona and Michael Hill, the director of the Department of Public Health Director, resigned in September to become Chief Executive Officer for the Texas Association of Local Health Officials in Austin.

“I consider myself blessed to have served as Fire Chief and proud of what the El Paso Fire Department has accomplished as an organization. I am privileged to have helped contribute over the last three and a half years and optimistic about the future of the EPFD,” stated Fire Chief Otto Drozd.

Drozd has served as fire chief since April of 2009 and will be returning to his home State of Florida as fire chief of the Orange County Fire Rescue Department, which oversees the largest county in Florida, including Orlando and the Disneyworld complexes.

“Chief Drozd has elevated the professionalism of the department and we wish him much success in his new role in Orlando, Florida,” City Manager Joyce Wilson said in a news release.

Read below for more information on Drozd’s tenure in El Paso from a statement from the City of El Paso.

During his tenure Chief Drozd confronted many challenges including a shortage of paramedics, excessive sick leave usage, delayed capital replacement, and providing for the growth within the City. The department under his leadership has met the challenge by increasing the number of paramedics by approximately 35 percent thus increasing patient care and allowing for greater survivability. Through cultivation of an excellent labor/management relationship with Local 51 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, the Department was able to implement a sick leave reduction program that yielded a year to year reduction in sick time usage of over 25,000 hours. This reduction enhanced the Department’s ability to mitigate emergencies by having more fire fighters on the streets.

Chief Drozd has addressed the department’s infrastructure through a vehicle replacement program and as well as a station replacement program that has seen the upgrade of many stations and the current construction of station 31 on the west side, 37 on the east side and the imminent replacement of Station 5 in the Medical Centers of the Americas area.

In early 2010 Chief Drozd set the department on the path towards International Accreditation through the Centers for Public Safety Excellence. In August of 2012 the El Paso Fire Department was recognized as one of only 150 agencies to achieve International Accreditation. In conjunction with International Accreditation the EPFD was reassessed in 2012 by the Insurance Service Office and remains one of only 61 Fire Departments nationwide to receive a Class One rating the highest available. These two distinctions are a testament to the professionalism and quality of service rendered by the El Paso Fire Department and as a result of the solid foundation laid will continue well into the future.

As a responsible leader Chief Drozd has provided for the professional development of current management staff as well as established high expectations for the future leaders of the department. City officials are confident that there is h a strong cadre of fire service professionals within the department that are fully capable of upholding the high standards set for the department during Chief Drozd’ s tenure.

City officials will receive input from the Chief and other important stakeholders prior to making a decision on an interim appointment and will notify the community of an Interim Fire Chief appointment prior to Chief Drozd’ s departure. The next step will be to focus on the recruitment process for a permanent appointment.

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