County Executive Robert R. Neall officially appointed Paul C. Haigley Jr. county fire administrator Friday.

Haigley, 49, was named acting fire administrator in February. He will earn $82,000 a year.

"Paul is highly respected by his colleagues in the department andby other fire protection professionals in our region," Neall said.

Haigley, who was attending budget hearings at the Arundel Center inAnnapolis Friday, said he was somewhat surprised to hear of the appointment.

"The county executive and I had a conversation a couple of days ago, and he said it would probably be done after the budget process," Haigley said.

He added that he is looking at the distribution of hook-and-lad

der trucks and fire companies in the county tosee if improvements can be made.

Haigley joined the fire department in 1962 and worked as a career firefighter at the Cape St. Claire Company. Promoted to lieutenant in 1965, he was assigned to the Bureau of Fire Prevention and Investigation.

Haigley moved quickly up the ranks and was appointed assistant fire administrator in 1966. In 1968, he was promoted to deputy chief, the highest merit system position in the department.

He has a bachelor's degree in business management from the University of Baltimore.

He is active in the Cape St. Claire Volunteer Department and is a member of several professional organizations.

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