Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Green Cove Springs Fire Chief Takes County Post

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Green Cove Springs Fire Chief Takes County Post

Article excerpt

Byline: Beth Reese Cravey, County Line staff writer

Green Cove Springs Fire Chief Richard Knoff has resigned to take a newly created position as hazardous materials battalion chief for Clay County Fire and Rescue.

Knoff, whose new duties begin March 26, has been a full-time city firefighter since 1987, the department's chief since 1992. In recent years, he has also been coordinator of the countywide hazardous materials response team.

As battalion chief, he will continue to coordinate the team, as well as Fire and Rescue's hazardous materials training and safety programs, among other things.

"I just felt like it was a good career move for me, would provide additional educational opportunities and allow me to serve a bigger population," Knoff said.

Lt. Bernita Bush, public information officer for Clay County's Public Safety Department, confirmed the hiring.

Mayor Virginia Hall said Knoff's departure will be a major loss for the city.

"I'm so sorry to see Richard go . . . He has been such a dedicated worker. I consider him almost irreplaceable," she said. "At the same time, this is a good opportunity for him."

Hall and the rest of the City Council were to discuss Knoff's departure at the regular meeting last night. How the council will handle Knoff's departure remains to be seen. Every few years or so, usually at budget-writing time, a council member suggests merging the city fire force with that of Clay County, as a cost-cutting move. But the council has never formally pursued the idea.

Hall said she was unsure whether a possible city-county fire department merger would come up at last night's meeting.

But the council must discuss whether to immediately seek a new chief or hire another firefighter and name an interim chief, said City Manager Don Bowles. The city has only three full-time firefighters, including the chief, as well as a contingent of volunteer firefighters, he said. …

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