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Fire district announces deputy chief promotion

By Staff | Dec 23, 2019

Lt. Paul DeArmond

After nearly two years of the Captiva Island Fire Control District’s second-in-command position remaining vacant, the district will have a new deputy chief with the start of the new year.

On Dec. 19, Fire Chief Jeff Pawul announced that Lt. Paul DeArmond will serve as the new deputy chief, with the promotion going into effect in January. Pawul had served as second-in-command until he was officially named chief in February 2018 with the retirement of former Chief Rich Dickerson.

“He is more than qualified for the position,” Pawul said. “He was a chief prior to coming here.”

DeArmond has over 30 years of service. Prior to joining Captiva in 2013 as a lieutenant, he served as chief of the Tice Fire and Rescue District. DeArmond also worked for the Fort Myers Fire Department.

In addition, he is an instructor at the Southwest Florida Public Service Academy.

Fire Chief Jeff Pawul

“I don’t need to train him to do this job,” Pawul said. “He’s been on the island long enough that he understands the island, as well. It’s an easy fit for him to move into this role.”

As for his duties, DeArmond will essentially serve as the second-in-charge under Pawul.

“That’s everything from involvement with the public and community meetings, to overseeing fire operations, training, inspections,” he said. “Basically, overseeing the day-to-day operations.”

DeArmond also will oversee filling his former position, plus the promoted staffer’s spot.

“He’ll be able to oversee the promotional assessment to replace his position (of lieutenant), as well as the hiring of the new firefighter to replace that promoted position,” Pawul said.

“Those are both big time-consuming projects,” he added.

Asked about why the district’s deputy chief position was left vacant for nearly two years, Pawul explained that there were a “myriad of reasons” behind the move, but one stands out on top.

“The main reason was to just save on our budget our last fiscal year. To keep that role open was a savings,” he said, noting that it has gotten to a point now where it needs to be filled, however.

“It was created for a reason,” Pawul said.

Plus without a deputy chief, those duties have fallen to him and those directly under Pawul.

“It’s putting extra work on them that role is not really outlined for,” he said.

According to Pawul, DeArmond plans to retire at some point during the current fiscal year.

“After he leaves, we can re-evaluate where we’re at,” he said.

In the meantime, DeArmond serving as deputy chief will help to facilitate district operations.

“I think he’s genuinely excited to do it. He’s pretty much taught everybody here, except for the one from the east coast, so all the guys respect him,” Pawul said. “And I’m excited to have the help.”