Controversial candidate for Jacksonville fire chief interviewed, but no longer in the running

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Mayor Donna Deegan’s administration is searching for a new Fire Chief.

One applicant, former Jacksonville Director of Emergency Management Todd Smith, has come under recent scrutiny.

Action News Jax confirmed Thursday that Smith was called in to interview for the position of JFRD Fire Chief.

It took nearly a week to confirm that fact with the city, and by the time we did, the Mayor’s Office indicated he was no longer in the running.


Earlier this year, an Action News Jax investigation uncovered sexual misconduct allegations made against Former Jacksonville Director of Emergency Management Chief Todd Smith.

The allegations stemmed from an incident during an out-of-state conference.

Though Smith denied the allegations, he resigned from his post soon after the story.

After learning Smith had applied for the job of Fire Chief at JFRD, Action News Jax requested a list of applicants who had been interviewed by the city for the post.

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That was on Friday.

Despite a round of follow-ups this week, as of noon Thursday, we still hadn’t gotten that list.

So, we asked Mayor Donna Deegan directly during a press conference announcing a separate round of appointments.

“You should have a list. We were supposed to provide you with a list and if we have not done that yet we will. We are still working with Chief Powers and he’s doing a great job and we’re interviewing everybody that’s coming in and saying they’d like to interview,” said Deegan.

Less than half an hour later, the list finally came through.

On it, Smith’s name appeared alongside a dozen other candidates.

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Notably absent from the list, was current JFRD Fire Chief Keith Powers, though Action News Jax confirmed with the city and Powers himself he is still in the running for the job.

An hour after receiving the list, Action News Jax was told by a member of the mayor’s team that Smith’s candidacy had not progressed past his initial interview, which was conducted last Thursday. The decision to take him out of consideration for the position of Fire Chief was made the same day.

Still unknown is how many candidates in total applied for the Fire Chief position and did not receive an interview.

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