Live Oak —
With bare walls and boxes lining his office Suwannee County Fire Chief and Public Safety Director Charlie Conner prepares for a move overseas.
Conner gave his notice of resignation to Suwannee County commissioners at Tuesday’s regularly scheduled meeting. Conner accepted a position in Afghanistan to work for a private fire services company. His last day will be on May 18.
Typically, department heads must give 30 days notice, but according to Conner, the BOCC gave their blessing for him to leave earlier so he could prepare for the move. Conner has worked for SCFR since 2006. He has been in the fire/rescue service for more than 26 years.
“I learned a lot here. I have learned a lot from the commissioners, the commissioners I served on the prior board and this board. I don’t have anything negative to say at this point because everything that has happened to me here has been a growing experience,” said Conner. “I think that we have an opportunity to take something bad that happened, or something that you feel like was an injustice at the time, and maybe analyze it, and look at it to see where the other person’s coming from, instead of feeling like a victim, feel like a student. I certainly did that.”
According to Conner, Suwannee County Fire/Rescue has made some great strides in the last four years. He is hoping that the BOCC keeps the SCFR traveling in the right direction.
“I believe the commissioners share the same common vision that I do for fire/rescue,” said Conner. “The good that we do is just phenomenal. The outreach programs have been phenomenal. I just can’t say enough about that and I got to tell you, having been the chief here for four years, it has been a very humbling experience. I am very thankful for that.”
With well wishes from his family, friends, subordinates and the BOCC, Conner looks back on his career achievements with SCFR. He said he created policies to help save the county money by creating checks and balances and dealt with an overtime problem that plagued the department. During his time here, Station 3 was relocated from Branford to Beachville, he got Dowling Park a station set up and was also instrumental in getting the Wellborn Fire/Rescue station started, including hiring the six new employees to run it.
“I have so many people I would like to thank in Suwannee County. There are so many people to thank in Suwannee County, the list is endless, both people that have agreed with me and those who haven’t, I have learned from everybody,” Conner said.