Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer is scheduled to announce the appointment of a new Orlando Fire Department Chief on Thursday, September 26.
Benjamin M. Barksdale, Jr. is currently serving as the Fire Chief of Prince George’s County, Maryland, the largest combination municipal fire and EMS department in the country with more than 2,500 personnel at 45 fire stations.
Barksdale started his firefighting career in 1987 in Virginia. He has a strong history in ensuring access to mental health programs and treatment for his staff and come from a diverse department with women and minorities in key roles.
The appointment ends a nationwide search for a replacement for former Orlando Fire Department Chief Roderick Williams, who resigned from his post in February following a federal investigation that found he discriminated against and sexually harassed a female employee – a finding that an internal probe launched by the City of Orlando did not support.
Williams has since filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission saying he was forced to leave and is looking to rescind his resignation.