Marco Island selects retired Deputy Chief Byrne as new fire chief

Chris Byrne, the city's emergency management coordinator, speaks during a Marco Island City Council meeting on June 15, 2020.

The city of Marco Island announced Monday the selection of Christopher Byrne, a retired deputy chief with 33 years of service, as its new fire-rescue chief.

Byrne will start in the new position Sept. 1, earning a salary of $141,750 annually, according to the city. 

City Manager Mike McNees wrote Byrne was the best choice among a pool of candidates that included city of Naples Fire Chief Pete DiMaria and Greater Naples Fire-Rescue District Chief Kingman Schuldt.

“Chris’s commitment to the city of Marco Island and its residents, his professionalism and devotion to the fire-rescue service and his team-first attitude have earned him respect and trust on the island," McNees wrote in a news release.

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Byrne, who has been the city's emergency management coordinator since 2017, retired from the Marco fire department in 2016. He will replace Fire-Chief Michael D. Murphy, who served the island as chief for the past 19 years, retiring after 50 years in the fire-rescue service. 

Murphy's last day on the job will be July 31, and his retirement is effective Sept. 4.

Byrne began his career as a firefighter and paramedic in 1983 and became a driver engineer in 1991, according to his resume. Five years later he was promoted to lieutenant and in 1998 to shift commander.

Byrne graduated in 1989 from Edison Community College as a paramedic. In 1997, he graduated with an associate's degree in fire science and a professional degree in emergency medical services.

In 2003, Byrne graduated from Hodges University with a bachelor's degree in management.

Serving as emergency management coordinator under contract, Byrne is currently managing two federally declared disaster incidents: Hurricane Irma and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Byrne is responsible for the coordination of the city's FEMA Public Assistance project development, damage inventory and reimbursement process, property insurance claims and project manager for all city repair projects since Hurricane Irma made landfall on the island in 2017.

Byrne will retain some of his emergency management duties as the city begins to review several applicants for the new manager of fleet, facilities and emergency management position, according to Casey Lucius, assistant to the city manager.

"He will be an outstanding chief," McNees wrote.

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