MIAMI (CBS4)- Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez named long-time public servant and firefighter William “Shorty” Bryson to the position of Fire Chief Tuesday.
The announcement came on the same day the interim fire chief, Karls Paul-Noel, announced his retirement.
Bryson’s position will be effective Thursday, August 18.
“Chief Bryson is eminently qualified for the position, having served the City of Miami Fire Department for thirty-five years,” the mayor’s office said.
Gimenez said Bryson’s brings with him excellent management qualities.
“Chief Bryson brings a wealth of professional experience and excellent management abilities to this job,” said Gimenez. “I have full faith that he will keep the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department moving in the right direction and serving the public effectively.”
Bryson began his career there as a firefighter in 1975 and steadily rose through the ranks to the position of Fire Chief, which he held for nine years. Along the way, Chief Bryson held the positions of Lieutenant, Captain and Chief Fire Officer.
Paul-Noel, 54, said his retirement was effective immediately and it was time to “move on to another chapter” of his life.
Paul-Noel, a 27-year veteran of MDFR, has been an active member of MDFR’s Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team since 1987 and has responded to disasters worldwide, including the earthquakes in Turkey, the Mozambique floods, and numerous hurricanes.
“I also wish to thank Chief Paul-Noël, who has faithfully served our community for the past twenty-seven years and ably filled the role of Interim Chief,” Gimenez said. “I fully understand the personal sacrifices that come with a career in public safety service and appreciate his good work and dedication.”
Paul-Noel was appointed the interim fire chief after chief Herminio Lorenzo announced his retirement on May 29, 2011.
As Assistant Chief of Operations, he was responsible for overseeing more than 2,000 uniformed personnel.
Paul-Noel addressed his colleagues and friends in an official memo issued by the county.
“I feel honored to have had the privilege of working for the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue department,” he said. “The tremendous opportunities that I have been afforded while working for the county are too many to list.”
Time Magazine named Paul-Noel as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2010, recognizing him as one of the heroes of the year for his efforts in Haiti following that nation’s devastating earthquake.
Paul-Noel noted the department’s challenging times ahead.
“Although seriously challenging times lie ahead, I leave with the knowledge that the department rests in good hands,” he said.
The news may have been sudden for some, but he said, “I have been fully prepared to make this decision based on the circumstances.”