John McNeil has been named as the first director of emergency services for Rockdale County after the other front-running candidate, Ralph "Gene" Wilson, withdrew his name for consideration.
According to Holly LaFontaine with the Public Affairs Department in Rockdale County, Wilson decided to accept a position with the Port Authority of New York as chief of security and would no longer being vying for the position in the county.
Both men were in equal standing, LaFontaine believed, and the panel-consisting of Arthur Reese, human resources director, Sheriff Jeff Wigington, City Manager Tony Lucas and Chief Operating Officer for National EMS (the county's ambulance provider) Benny Adkins-was happy with both men, and was pleased to offer the position to McNeil.
According to Julie Mills, Director of Public Relations for Rockdale County, the county received a total of 25 applications for the position and narrowed it down to McNeil and Wilson.
LaFontaine said she believed the panel felt that McNeil's previous experience helped in their decision to choose him rather than start the process of looking at more candidates.
McNeil worked previously with the city of Atlanta, working his way up through the ranks from fire captain/communications to battalion chief, assistant fire chief and then deputy fire chief by 2005.
"My fire suppression training, prevention, communications and leadership experience in a large metro fire department such as Atlanta, brings to Rockdale County an extensive understanding of the challenges emergency services faces today," said McNeil.
According to McNeil's employment application for the county position, his work duties while deputy fire chief included managing the department's technical services division which included training, inspections, investigations, real property, public education and grants management. According to his resume and application, McNeil retired from the city of Atlanta in 2007 in order to pursue a master's degree in an effort to become fire chief.
"He has a lot of experience.I think the panel felt confident in his abilities in fire services," LaFontaine said
"I am extremely excited and honored to have been selected to serve in the newest position on Rockdale County's leadership team," McNeil said. "My introduction to Rockdale County through this selection process has been a very positive experience. I look forward to working with the dedicated men and women of the communications center, fire department and animal care and control in moving emergency services to an new level of service for the citizens of Rockdale County."