City Manager - July 8, 2014
Fire Chief Antony Farmer announced today that he will retire at the end of December, concluding what will be almost 32 years of distinguished service to the citizens of Winston-Salem. City Manager Lee Garrity said a national search will be conducted for Farmer’s successor.
Farmer, 57, joined the fire department in 1983 and rose through the ranks, serving as firefighter, engineer, captain, battalion chief and district chief before being named as fire chief in 2008.
During his tenure, the Fire Department grew to 24 companies, 19 fire stations and a total of 343 employees. The department maintained an average response time of four minutes while also having the lowest cost per call of any major city in North Carolina.
Also, the department implemented a battalion chief promotion process, developed the initial phase of a career ladder, certified its rescue program, enhanced station-level and in-service training and acquired new equipment for firefighters.
The department started a Citizens’ Fire Academy and implemented a voluntary home inspection program and a stove-top fire suppression program. Farmer will leave with the department’s process of attaining its first-ever accreditation well under way.
Garrity complimented Farmer for his service to the department and the community. “Chief Farmer has led the department with professionalism and with a deep concern for protecting the lives and property of our citizens. Under his many years of servant leadership, our fire protection facilities and personnel have improved significantly.”
Farmer thanked his coworkers as well as the staff of other departments and agencies for their support during his service as chief. “God has truly blessed me with the people I work with and I give him the glory for all that has been done,” he said. “There is still more work to be done; new stations, more officer development, and community mentoring. The foundation for these items is in place.”
Garrity said he is grateful that Farmer is giving the city plenty of time to search for its next fire chief. “I plan to conduct a national search that includes opportunities for input from elected officials, fire service personnel and other public safety professionals,” he said. “The process will be similar to our most recent search for our police chief.”