Fort Lauderdale (FL) Fire-Rescue Appoints Jeffrey A. Justinak as Chief

By John B. Molenda, Assistant Fire Chief

On August 3, 2010 Jeffrey A. Justinak, a 22-year Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue fire veteran, was appointed as the new Fire Chief of Fort Lauderdale (FL) Fire-Rescue (FLFR). He will oversee a staff of 460 personnel total, with 383 sworn firefighters and an Ocean Rescue division that includes 37 full time employees. Chief Justinak succeeds now deceased Fire Chief James R. Eddy, who served the fire department from January 2007 thru October 2009. 

Chief Justinak has a long and outstanding history with Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue beginning in 1988. He has provided outstanding leadership throughout the years and especially over the past year as Acting Fire Chief after Chief Eddy’s retirement in 2009. He takes the reins during a challenging budget time but we are confident that under his strong leadership ability Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue will continue to develop innovative approaches to meet the growing and changing needs of the high level of service expected by Fort Lauderdale’s residents.

During his tenure with FLFR, Chief Justinak has managed many of the Department’s critical divisions and bureaus including the Fire Prevention Bureau, Support Services, Internal Affairs, Human Resources, Communications, Training, Financial Management and Information Technology.  As Assistant Chief of Administration, he was responsible for the development and effective execution of administrative policies and procedures for all assigned functions of the department, and assisted in such areas as personnel, employee relations, hiring, staffing record-keeping, fiscal control, research and development and training. Most recently, Justinak was an integral part of FLFR’s administration during a period of tremendous growth including the construction of many new fire stations and the new state-of-the-art headquarters in Downtown Fort Lauderdale.

Chief Justinak serves on numerous committees and affiliate organizations at the local, state and national level, for both the fire service and other associations. He served as a principle officer of the Local Fire Union 765 of the International Association of Firefighters for nine years, with the final three years as president prior to being promoted to manager. He has been an active participant over the years both for labor and management in the collective bargaining process. The Broward County Council of Professional Firefighters selected him in 1999 as “Firefighter of the Year”.
 
Chief Justinak balances his life of dedicated and loyal service to Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue with his enjoyment for jogging, boating, traveling, skiing, snowmobiling and an occasional investment opportunity. He states his most complimentary personal attributes come from his wife, Kathleen and his two children, Austin and Alexandra. He believes that his professional successes in the fire service directly reflect the people that surround him both in past years, as well as the current administrative officers and staff that support the department on a daily basis. 
 
For the first time in 24 years the FLFR has promoted a Fire Chief from the inside. Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue has benefited greatly from Chief Justinak’s many years of dedicated service to the Department and now looks forward to his leadership as fire chief!

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