Sarasota News Leader

05/30/2014

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Tourist Development Council and Citizen Tax Oversight Committee. After Commissioner Joe Barbetta gave Tobias what Hines characterized as "the classic retirement clock," Hines recognized County Administrator Tom Harmer, who previously served as fire chief in Titusville. Once people hold certain positions in their careers, Harmer explained, the titles stay with them for life. "Once a fire chief, always a fire chief," he added, "and that's a heck of an honor [for Tobias] to carry with him." Over the past six months, Harmer continued, he has met with more than 200 people, some in large group settings and others individually, as he sought their views on what attributes they want to see in the county's next fire chief. "Without a doubt, the primary feedback I have received is 'Mike is going to be missed, but please hire somebody just like Mike.'" Then Harmer pointed out, "In the fire service, leadership is symbolized by a bugle." A firefighter promoted out of the ranks to lieu- tenant earns his first lapel pin bugle, Harmer explained; a chief wears five such pins on his lapel. The bugle represents days long gone by, Harmer noted, when fire chiefs had to use speaking trumpets in the streets to direct their teams. "I didn't want the chief to leave without a bugle," Harmer added as he presented Tobias a brass bugle on a wooden base and thanked him on behalf of all the county employees. "I know that means a lot to you," Hines said to Tobias, referring to the remarks and the bugle. Each of the other commissioners took turns offering thanks to the chief. Commissioner Nora Patterson said she believes the people he has led "are unanimous in respect and love for you. … The county as a whole feels the same way." B a r b e t t a c a l l e d To b i a s " a c o n s u m - mate professional." When it was finally his turn with the mic, Tobias thanked his wife "for encouraging me to follow my dream over 35 years ago to get into the service." He also expressed gratitude to all the men and women in the Fire Department and Emergency Services, adding that the county has "a terrific team in place." T h e a u d i e n c e m e m b e r s , w h o n e a r l y filled the chambers, gave him a rousing standing ovation. % Someone you know needs Planned Parenthood • Lifesaving cancer screenings • Parent & teen education • Annual GYN exams • Birth control Planned Parenthood Of Southwest And Central Florida • Sarasota 941-953-4060 • MyPlannedParenthood.org Sarasota News Leader May 30, 2014 Page 56

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