Jacksonville Daily Progress
Jacksonville Fire Marshal Dennis Tate was recognized for a bit of a professional milestone Tuesday night – a full quarter of a century working for the city of Jacksonville. On Tuesday Tate formally received his 25-year service award.
And he wasn't the only one honored for time spent working for the city. Also recognized were city cemetery superintendent Benny Meza and Sanitation Department Driver Marvin Mallard, who has worked for Jacksonville for the past decade.
Jacksonville Mayor Kenneth Melvin formally presented these service awards after he was sworn back into office by City Secretary Betty Thompson Tuesday night.
The mayor also swore in Precinct 1 Councilman Hubert Robinson and Precinct 3 Councilman Bill McDonald.
McDonald, incidentally, also was selected as the new mayor pro tem to replace District 2 Councilman Jeff Smith.
As to Tate's career with the city, he took the reins as fire marshal in early 2009, replacing his retiring predecessor Brent Smith, who retired in October 2008.
Tate, who started with JFD in June 1988, was the Jacksonville Fire Department’s training officer at the time his predecessor retired. He had already been picking up the slack by taking on most of the fire marshal’s duties by the time he was formally promoted. He had apparently been doing such a good job the fire chief decided to make it official.
Jacksonville Fire Chief Paul White at the time described Tate as the most qualified person in his department to occupy the position.
“It takes some extra certification to be fire marshal, and he is the only one in the department who already has all the credentials he needs for that position,” White said in a previous interview.
The fire marshal is charged with code-enforcement, fire-prevention and law-enforcement on behalf of the fire department. He is responsible for the annual inspection of hospitals, day-care centers and nursing homes. He also must ensure new construction plans submitted to the city meet all life safety requirements.
Tate has been highly praised for his ability to work well with members of the community – a paramount element to a successful run as fire marshal.
“He is real accommodating to try to find ways to help people out, and that’s really what you want to see,” White has said.
Incidentally, Meza, a former employee of the year, has worked for the city since 1998.
In a previous interviews, City Manager Mo Raissi described Meza as always dependable, even when called out on nights and weekends. Raissi said Meza is the last person who would ever let someone down.
Raissi said Mallard also is an exceptional worker who is great at his job.