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Fire Chief Floyd to retire
Covington seeks new chief
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Covington is accepting applications for a new fire chief to replace Don Floyd, who will retire on June 15 after nearly 40 years with the department.

The city is looking for applicants with a bachelor's degree in public management, business administration, fire science technology or fire safety engineering or who have a related degree and have taken college-level courses in fire administration. The position will pay $62,296 to $83,491, depending on experience.

Applicants should have 10 years of high-level command experience, three years of which must have been equivalent to fire captain or higher rank, including at least one year performing administrative work. Full requirements can be found at the city's website by clicking on the "Departments" tab and selecting the Human Resources page.

City Manager Steve Horton said Monday that the city will miss Floyd’s nearly four decades of experience and service. Horton said the city would like to make a hire by March to give the new chief a few months to work with Floyd to become acquainted with the city and the department’s organizational structure.

"I’ve said this before, we can go out and hire anybody for any job, who has the (necessary) educational background or expertise from another city, but when they come in, they know nothing about Covington. They need time to get acclimated to our organizational structure, but also the layout of town," he said.

Floyd said Tuesday that he believes there are qualified replacements within the department and he hopes the city will choose an internal option. Horton said the city will look at both internal and external candidates to find the best candidate.

"That’s just one of those things, in fairness to public and the taxpayer who pay our bills, to look in both those places. We want to make sure we’re taking a responsible approach," he said.

Floyd proud of time in Covington

Floyd joined the Covington Fire Department as a firefighter in 1972, after serving in the U.S. Coast Guard. He worked up through the ranks and was appointed fire chief in 1999.

Under his leadership, the department has improved its fire insurance office rating, ISO, to a Class 3 ranking, the third highest. He said he believed that less than 10 percent of cities of similar size have achieved such a high ranking. The rating reduces the price that business and homeowners have to pay for fire insurance.

He said he was also proud of the fact that the Covington department was the fourth fire department in the state to be internationally accredited by the non-profit Center for Public Safety Excellence. Floyd was also personally accredited.

Fire service is a difficult field because every time the department goes on a call, they see people at their worst.

"Whether they’re losing their property or having a medical emergency, most of the time we don’t have any control over that. The only thing we can do is mitigate the problem," Floyd said. "That’s probably the worst part of the job."

The thing he’ll miss the most is the camaraderie he developed with his fellow Covington firefighters as well as fire officials all across the country.

"I’ve fostered a lot of friendships with different firefighters and chiefs across this country, from Orange County, Calif., to Maryville, Tenn., to Bradenton, Fla. to Vermont," he said. "That’s something you can’t put a value on."

Floyd, 61, said he was retiring so he could spend more time with his grandchildren.

"I got a lot of living still to do, and I want to spend a lot of time with my family," he said.