Though hurricane season started on Friday, Pinellas County has not selected a permanent leader to oversee its emergency management department.
Instead, the county tapped former state official David Halstead to serve as interim director until a candidate is hired.
The county wanted to name a permanent successor before longtime director Sally Bishop departed last week. She had headed the office since 2007.
Halstead, who Gov. Charlie Crist appointed to lead the Florida Division of Emergency Management in 2010, brings 40 years of first responder experience to the office. He is not a candidate for the permanent position, the county said.
"The county is still in the review process and going through applications," spokeswoman Barbra Hernandez said Monday, adding that the application process closes Sunday.
Halstead, 64, said he is eager to serve Pinellas County in a temporary role.
"I am honored to serve Pinellas County in this interim role and look forward to working with the rest of the county team as we help our citizens plan and prepare," Halstead said in a statement.
Halstead has led emergency responses for wildfire disasters, major hurricanes and other rescue operations, according to Pinellas County.
From 1972 to 1998, Halstead worked at the Altamonte Springs Fire Department and retired as an assistant chief. He joined the state Division of Emergency Management in 1999 and left in 2012. Since then, he has worked as a consultant on emergency management and homeland security issues.