Tulare County Appoints Joe Garcia As New Fire Chief

October 18, 2011

The Tulare County Board of Supervisors today appointed Joe M. Garcia as the Tulare County Fire Department Chief.

Garcia has more than 37 years in the California fire service, starting as a Paid-Call Firefighter in 1974 at the Terra Bella Tulare County station. He also worked with the Porterville State Hospital Fire Department, the Office of the State Fire Marshal, and, more recent, was hired as a Division Chief with the Tulare County Fire Department when it was established by the Board of Supervisors in 2006.

"Joe has had a proven track-record of success throughout his fire service career and has a statewide reputation of being an effective leader," said Mike Ennis, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors. "We are pleased to fill the Fire Chief position with someone of Joe's caliber."

In Fiscal Year 2006/07, prior to the official start of the Tulare County Fire Department, Garcia developed all aspects of the Fire Prevention Division, which included: the creation of programs, processes, procedures, forms, checklists, standard operating procedures, policies, training, workload analysis, staffing needs and justifications, budget needs, vehicle and transportation needs. In addition, Garcia helped staff and train the Fire Prevention Division.

As the Fire Chief, some of Garcia's responsibilities include: direct and indirect supervision of all Fire Department employees; development of annual plans and objectives; budgeting; long-range planning to provide optimum support for ongoing operations; and direct emergency operations during major events and in other situations as required.

Garcia earned an Associate of Science degree in Psychiatric Technology from Porterville College in 1981 and a Bachelor's of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix in 1990. He will officially start his Fire Chief duties on Oct. 24 and earn $115,000 annually.

Garcia and his wife of 39 years reside in Visalia and have two sons and six grandchildren.

Garcia will replace Steve Sunderland, who retired Aug. 12, 2011 after more than 40 years in fire service.

“I would like to thank the Board of Supervisors for their confidence in me and granting me this opportunity. I grew up in Tulare County and I am proud of the many positive aspects that the county offers to both its citizens and visitors,” Chief Garcia said. “The last five years have been dedicated to creating the department and establishing a solid foundation. I am glad to be given an opportunity to further edify the department and look forward to the challenges and serving my community”.