By Willie Howard
Delray Beach Fire Rescue Chief Danielle Connor will retire May 31 after more than 22 years with the department, including more than five years overseeing the city’s fire-rescue department.
“After five-plus years as fire chief, I have been presented with an opportunity that I simply cannot pass up,” Connor said in a Feb. 24 memo to fire-rescue personnel.
Connor did not respond to requests for comment following her announcement to her staff and to City Manager Don Cooper.
Cooper said Connor cited the need for more personal time in her decision to retire from the department, which provides fire and rescue services to Delray Beach, Highland Beach and Gulf Stream.
Connor started working for Delray Beach Fire Rescue in 1993 and served as firefighter, paramedic, driver engineer, lieutenant, division chief and assistant chief before becoming chief.
Connor became acting chief of the department in the fall of 2010, when former Chief David James was unable to serve because of an illness. She formally assumed James’ role as chief in December 2011, following his resignation.
“I will forever be thankful to the city of Delray Beach and its residents for the opportunity to serve as the leader of the fire department,” Connor wrote in a Feb. 24 memo to the city manager.
Cooper said in late February that the city had already begun the search for a new fire-rescue chief and will follow standard procedure by considering applicants from inside the department before conducting an outside search.
Cooper said he would like to interview applicants in April and hire a new chief by early May, if possible, to facilitate a smooth transition.
“My hope is to have somebody on board before she leaves, “ Cooper said. “She’s going to be missed.” Ú