Broward - South

Miami Beach

Hollywood fire chief heading to Miami Beach

Miami Beach is getting another new top public-safety official.

Hollywood Fire Chief Virgil Fernandez is slated to take over the position in Miami Beach on Feb. 24. Current Chief Javier Otero will step down to become a captain again.

Just weeks ago, Miami Beach lost Deputy Police Chief Mark Overton to neighboring Bal Harbour, where he was named top cop. Police Chief Raymond Martinez is also in the running to become chief of police in South Miami.

Otero joined the city’s deferred retirement plan in Sept. 2012, meaning his last day with the department will be in August 2017.

In an email to city commissioners, Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales wrote that he hopes elected officials will approve the new hire at their commission meeting next month.

“The decision to name a new chief is not a criticism of the past nor of Chief Otero’s tenure. Rather, it is a vision for what I think this department can achieve,” Morales wrote. “By bringing in someone with some outside perspective and experience at one of the finest departments in the state, we can re-examine our policies and procedures and implement new training and leadership development that will move this department rapidly forward.”

As chief, Otero made about $181,000. A salary has not yet been offered to Fernandez, said Miami Beach spokeswoman Nannette Rodriguez. The salary range for the position is $126,000 to $204,000, Rodriguez said.

Fernandez had applied to become Miami Beach’s top fire official the last time the department needed a chief, in 2012. He was the runner-up for the spot.

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