‘My wheelhouse:’ New Chief of Emergency Services espouses confidence ahead of hurricane season

Jacksonville, Fla. — As Jacksonville gears up for the start of hurricane season, it will do so under the leadership of a new Chief of Emergency Services.

Jacksonville’s new Chief of Emergency Services Andre Ayoub took the helm of the EOC in early May.

He told Action News Jax Wednesday, while the position may be a new one for him, with nearly 30 decades of city service on his resume, the mission couldn’t be more familiar.

“This is my wheelhouse. I love this and a lot of those relationships are already established,” said Ayoub.


Ayoub took over after an Action News Jax investigation revealed previously unreported accusations of sexual misconduct, which led to the resignation of former Chief of Emergency Services Todd Smith.

Even with Smith gone, Ayoub said he enters his new role with a solid foundation of competent and knowledgeable staff to help him along the way.

“At the EOC, there’s a lot of veteran personnel there that have been there for many years. They’re amazing. I’ve worked with them for the last 15-20 years,” said Ayoub.

Ayoub steps in amidst an administration shift in the mayor’s office.

Mayor-Elect Donna Deegan declined to weigh in on what staffing shake-ups may be in store once she’s sworn in.

“I’m not gonna discuss that right now,” said Deegan Wednesday.

Ayoub expressed an interest in remaining in his role, even after the new administration takes over.

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“I’ve known the mayor-elect for many years, seeing her in the news. And I think I’m looking forward to the opportunity to sit down with her and talk and God-willing I’m going to be a part of her team,” said Ayoub.

Sheriff TK Waters and Fire Chief Keith Powers also echoed Ayoub’s confidence the city will be prepared for a storm, despite the change in leadership, noting the emergency response machine is set up to run apace, no matter what happens at the leadership level.

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