Hillsborough Fire Chief Doesn't Have Required Degree

TAMPA (2011-10-13) -

Questions are being raised about the qualifications of Hillsborough County's Fire and Rescue Chief.

The chief of the county's Fire and Rescue department is required to have either a master's or a bachelor's degree.

Chief Ron Rogers has neither. He has a high school diploma and twenty-nine years of experience. But he says time will tell whether he is fit for the job.

"I've been in the interim position since January, apparently Mike Merrill and Sharon Subadan who are my leaders, saw something they were pleased with, I just ask everyone to give me an opportunity." said Rogers.

In August, Hillsborough County Administrator Michael Merrill waived the education requirement and appointed Rogers as chief.

According to the St. Petersburg Times, some firefighters do not agree with the Rogers appointment- including retired Hillsborough fire chief Bill Nesmith.

Nesmith appointed Rogers assistant chief before he left the department but, Nesmith told the newspaper that there is a big difference between the assistant chief and the fire chief.

It's common for fire chiefs to have a college degree but there is no national standard.

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