The City of Tyler announced today that Neal Franklin has been reappointed as chief of the Tyler Fire Department. Franklin had retired in August to pursue other interests, after spending 21 years as a fireman and five years as chief in Tyler.
"After being away from the Fire Department for a few months, I couldn't ignore the yearning to return to my life's calling," said Franklin. "Being a fireman is in my blood and is who I am. I honestly just missed it."
Franklin was originally hired by the Fire Department in 1987 as a driver. He worked his way through the ranks, serving as an inspector, an arson investigator, captain, hazardous materials team captain and then was appointed Fire chief in July 2003.
"We welcome Neal back with great enthusiasm," said City Manager Designate Mark McDaniel. "He loves this City and the fraternity of firefighters that humbly serve our community each and every day. I would not typically hire an employee back after a resignation, but Neal is definitely the exception. He is a high performer and caring leader. His positive influence is contagious."
During his five years as Chief, Franklin took steps to grow the Department and address long range planning. Under his leadership, the Department developed a six-year plan that outlined the addition of two new fire stations - one of which as opened Oct. 8 on Old Omen Road. His plan also called for the reconstruction and relocation of two existing stations that are outdated.
Franklin was also responsible for the implementation of an apparatus replacement program that ensures that aged and obsolete equipment is replaced. This program has resulted in the City acquiring three new fire engines. Five additional engines have been ordered and will be delivered next year.
"I, along with my partners on the Council, am elated that Neal has accepted the City manager's offer to return as Chief of the Fire Department," said Mayor Barbara Bass. "Neal is a tremendous leader whose contributions have a direct impact on the citizens of Tyler."
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