On January 11, 2010 the Santa Monica Fire Department celebrated the promotion of four new Fire Captains, one Assistant Fire Marshal, two Fire Engineers and one Public Safety Systems Analyst in addition to recognizing and welcoming two employees who transferred into the Fire Department family from other City Departments.
The City Council Chambers were filled to near capacity with family, friends and co-workers of those being recognized. Dignitaries in the audience included Council Members Bob Holbrook and Kevin McKeown, Assistant City Manager Jennifer Phillips, Police Chief Tim Jackman, Chief Information Officer Jory Wolf and retired Fire Chief Tom Tolman.
The ceremony was started with Firefighter Jonathan Putnins ringing a fire bell at the front of the council dais. Support Services Division Chief Walt Shirk made a brief introduction about the morningï¿½s celebration and after a moment of silence to honor Mayor Ken Genser who passed away on January 9, 2010, Fire Captain Mat Norris shared a summary of Fire Department symbols and traditions which included an explanation about the significance of the fire bell, the Maltese Cross, speaking trumpets and fire helmets.
Fire Chief Jim Hone provided the audience with a summary of the duties and responsibilities of a Fire Captain. He then introduced each new promoted Fire Captain by reading a brief summary of their work experience and education. Their new badge and collar insignia were pinned on by a family member chosen by the new Fire Captain. The new Fire Captains are: Rich Kramer, Sean Van Sluis, Eric Himler and Dan Watje.
Chief Hone then introduced newly promoted Assistant Fire Marshal Eric Binder and provided the audience with a brief overview of his duties and responsibilities pertaining to managing and supervising the hazardous materials inspection and enforcement program. His badge and collar insignia were pinned on by his wife Dr. Lisa Alex.
Next recognized were the new Fire Engineers who drive the large fire vehicles and operate all of the complex equipment they carry. Fire Engineer Mike Fitzgerald received his badge from his wife Kim. The badge Mike is wearing is the same badge previously worn by his Father-In-Law Rodger Hall who is Kimï¿½s father. Fire Engineer Sarah Stradtner received her badge from her husband Chris Stradtner who is a Santa Monica Firefighter/Paramedic. It is important to note that Sarah is the first female Fire Engineer in the Fire Departmentï¿½s 120 year history.
Chief Hone then introduced Public Safety Systems Analyst Benjamin M. Steers who had previously worked for the Big Blue Bus as a Software Systems Analyst and was promoted and transferred to the Fire Department where his duties and responsibilities include installing and maintaining all of the technology that the Fire Department uses including 911 Circuits, Computer Aided Dispatch, Station Alerting, Mobile Data Computers (MDCs), Radio Systems, and Record Management Systems.
He concluded by introducing Environmental Compliance Specialist Monica Hanley who may be a new addition to the Fire Department family, but she has been a Santa Monica employee since 1986 working in the Water Division. She later transferred to the Environmental Division to implement the underground storage tank program within the Certified Unified Program Agency (CUPA).
Ms. Denise Anderson ï¿½Warren from the City Clerks Office administered the Oath of Office to the newly promoted employees.
The Santa Monica Fire Department Promotion and Recognition Ceremony concluded with family photos and congratulations from those in the audience.