USA — The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors appointed Daryl L. Osby today to the position of County Forester and Fire Warden of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
Osby will be officially sworn in by the Executive Officer of the Board on Thursday, February 17, as the Departments ninth Fire Chief, and will assume the position held for the past 22 years by retiring Fire Chief P. Michael Freeman. Osby also becomes the Departments first African-American Fire Chief in its 88-year history.
I have no doubt that Chief Osbys depth of experience, values and strong leadership will continue to be tremendous assets to the Department as he takes on his new role, wrote Freeman in an internal briefing released last week to the Departments workforce of 4,300 emergency responders and business professionals.
Osbys promotion to the top job comes less than three years after being promoted to the rank of Chief Deputy in April 2008. Since then, he has served second in command to the Fire Chief as Chief Deputy of Emergency Operations and most recently as Chief Deputy of Business Operations, gaining a broad, leadership-focused understanding of both sides of the massive Department over the past 15 years. He was also the first African-American chief officer to be appointed to the rank of Chief Deputy.
In his new role, Osby will be responsible for the direction of all forestry and fire operations as well as budget, personnel, fiscal and other administrative matters of the Department whose mission is to save the lives and property of more than four million residents living in 58 cities served by the Department, plus the Countys unincorporated areas within the Departments 2,300-square-mile jurisdiction. His top priority will be to address financial challenges while maintaining emergency and public safety services, along with a focus on workforce excellence efforts within the Department.
Part of his new job will require close work with a wide array of stakeholders, including city officials, union leaders, fire service colleagues and the public to further the Departments mission. As have his predecessors, Osby will represent the Department on nationally-recognized fire service, homeland security and defense, and emergency medical services committees and task forces. Osby joined the Department 26 years ago, and has performed admirably while taking on steadily increasingly responsibility serving the public. He has served in the ranks of Fire Fighter, Fire Fighter Specialist, Fire Captain, Battalion Chief, Assistant Fire Chief, Deputy Chief and finally Chief Deputy, where he was responsible for half of the Departments operations. His executive level experience also includes leadership, development and management of the Special Operations Bureau, including the Departments ocean lifeguards, Air Operations, fire suppression camps and technical rescue services. Osby has also worked in several emergency management positions throughout his career and has often served as the top commander during many headlining incidents, including the Commerce train derailment, the 2003 California Fire Siege, the 2005 Topanga Fire, the 2007 Catalina Island Fire and the 2008 wildland fires. Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Osby was deployed to Louisiana for 18 days to assist the City of New Orleans in developing a continuity plan for their city government and managing recovery efforts.
Osby holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Organizational Leadership from Azusa Pacific University. In 2009, he completed Harvard Universitys Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program and, in 2006, its National Preparedness Leadership Program. He is also a graduate of the Carl Holmes Executive Development Institute and Loyola Marymount Universitys Martin Gang Institute for Intergroup Relations.
Throughout his career, Osby has been actively engaged in community and mentoring activities throughout the Los Angeles region, including the Departments own Fire Explorer Program. His contributions have been evidenced by many awards and commendations from local, state and private organizations. He currently directs three youth-oriented foundations, including the Junior Firefighter Youth Foundation, Youth for Excellence Foundation and Fire Fighters ABCs. He serves on the board of directors of Pomona Valley Hospital, and is a member and former president of the Los Angeles County Stentorians, a firefighter organization founded in 1954 by Los Angeles area African-American firefighters to end segregation and discrimination in local firehouses.