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Tampa Mayor Names New Fire Chief

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  • Tampa Mayor Names New Fire Chief

    St. Petersburg Times--Hillsborough County

    Mayor names new fire chief
    Aria Ray Green joined the department in 1978 as a firefighter, ascending to fire division chief in 1994.
    By BABITA PERSAUD, Times Staff Writer
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published June 18, 2003


    TAMPA - Tampa's new fire chief, Aria Ray Green, has 25 years of experience, multiple master's degrees and works - when he's not with Tampa Fire Rescue - as a psychiatric nurse.

    "His record with Tampa Fire Rescue is spotless, his integrity unquestioned," said Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio, who made the announcement Tuesday at City Hall.

    Green, who replaces retiring Chief Pete Botto, is the department's first African-American fire chief.

    "I want to see this department be the most known, most respected and the most emulated department in the country," he said.

    He said when Tampa Fire Rescue comes on a scene, "there will be a collective sigh."

    Green wants to revamp training. "A complete makeover," he said. And he has already started talks with Iorio about response times near the county-city borders.

    Iorio said Tuesday that one of the goals for the new chief will also be "streamlining the management" to free up money to be spent on "personnel that directly reflect quality of service to the public." Green said he's the kind of leader who likes "to have people participate in the process as much as possible, but if I have to be authoritarian, I will do so."

    Originally from Massachusetts, Green started with Tampa Fire Rescue in 1978 as a firefighter. He has also been driver engineer, captain and fire district chief. In 1994, he became fire division chief.

    Green, 52, has master's degrees in public administration and management from Troy State University, and in theology and pastoral counseling from Life Christian University. He is currently working toward a doctorate in theology from Life Christian University.

    He works as a psychiatric nurse for Memorial Hospital during off-hours.

    Green was one of four applicants recommended to Iorio by a six-member committee of city and Fire Rescue personnel. The other three finalists were Dennis Jones, Dennis Phillips and Michael Gonzalez. The panel reviewed 19 applicants, all from Tampa Fire Rescue.

    Green starts Monday.

    Botto's last day is Saturday. A Tampa native, he has been with the department since 1968, and was a backer of former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco, who made him his chief.

    Botto has been popular with the rank and file. But his 35 years with the department have not always been stellar.

    Last year, Botto was criticized when he took his family in a fire department van to Tennessee. He has also used the van during work hours to take firefighters to jai alai games in Orlando.

    A jovial and personable man, Botto made headlines again when he unbuckled his pants and showed a Bucs tattoo on his right hip, live on the noon news during Super Bowl hoopla in January. He said it was done to show his loyality and love of Tampa Bay.

    Botto's last day as fire chief will be spent at a charity event.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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