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Search for Seminole fire chief narrowed to nine finalists

SEMINOLE — City Manager Frank Edmunds has narrowed a field of 37 applicants for the position of fire chief down to nine finalists.

The job came open at the end of last month when Dan Graves retired after 33 years as chief.

Edmunds expects the choice to be finalized in September. The finalists:

• George Stacey Bessler, 50, has an associate's degree in general education/business from the University of South Florida and a bachelor of applied science in public safety administration/emergency management from St. Petersburg College. He has worked for Seminole's fire rescue department since 1981. He is the assistant fire chief and is acting chief until a new leader is chosen.

• Franklin Henry Edwards, 53, holds a bachelor's degree in fire science from University of Maryland and a master's in public administration from Virginia Commonwealth University. He has been fire chief/public safety bureau chief of Escambia County since August 2009. He served as Pensacola fire chief from December 2007 to August 2009. He was the second deputy fire chief in Chesterfield County, Va., from 1981 until his retirement in 2007.

• James Louis Gary, 54, has a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Florida and a master's in business administration from the University of Tampa. He was a firefighter/paramedic with Lealman Fire Rescue from August 1979 to March 1981. He has worked at Tampa Fire Rescue since March 1981 and is currently that department's division fire chief. He has also worked as a fire science instructor at Hillsborough Community College since August 1991.

• Donald Charles King, 58, holds both a bachelor's and master's degree in public management from Florida Atlantic University. He is also a graduate of the National Fire Academy executive fire officer program. He retired from the Broward Sheriff's Office Department of Fire Rescue in February 2007 after working there since 1975. He was a battalion chief.

• Jeffrey Thomas Manning, 56, has a bachelor's degree in business administration with a minor in fire science from Northwood University in West Palm Beach. He has been the public safety director for Taylor County since October 2007. Before that, he served as deputy fire chief of Osceola County from April 2003 to September 2006.

• Timothy Alan Mossgrove, 43, holds a bachelor's degree in public safety administration from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix. He has worked for the city of Brooksville since 1986 and currently serves as the fire chief/emergency management director. He has been an instructor at the Florida State Fire College since 1991.

• William Edward Sturgeon, 46, has a bachelor's degree in occupational safety and health from Columbia Southern University in Orange Beach, Ala., and has taken 27 hours toward a master's degree in public administration at American Public University in Manassas, Va. He worked for Orange County Fire Rescue from 1986 until his retirement in April. His last position there was division chief.

• James Andrew Warman, 46, earned a bachelor's degree in public administration from Eckerd College and has taken two courses toward a master's degree in public administration at Troy State University in Tampa. He is in the third year of the National Fire Academy's executive fire officer program. He has worked for Largo Fire Rescue since 1984 and currently serves as that department's deputy fire chief.

• Richard E. Wiederhold, 61, has a bachelor's degree in history and English from Florida State University and a master's in public administration from the University of Central Florida. He worked for Brevard County Fire Rescue from 1988 until his retirement in 2005. He was serving as district chief when he retired.

Reach Anne Lindberg at or (727) 893-8450.

Search for Seminole fire chief narrowed to nine finalists 08/14/10 [Last modified: Saturday, August 14, 2010 4:30am]
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