Veteran firefighter to lead Annapolis department

The Annapolis city council has confirmed a veteran firefighter with local roots as the city's new fire chief.

David L. Stokes, who retired as chief of the Anne Arundel County Fire Department in 2008 after a three-decade career as a firefighter, begins his new post in June. Stokes' annual salary is $124,775.

Mayor Joshua J. Cohen nominated Stokes, who began his career as a volunteer firefighter in Eastport and West Annapolis, on April 20. The council unanimously confirmed Stokes on Monday night.

Stokes, 53, begins his tenure with the city as it works to eliminate a $6.3 million structural deficit, which resulted in a round of layoffs last month. Cohen has said more layoffs are possible if the city doesn't get $2.5 million in concessions from the city's four labor unions, including police and fire department employees. Negotiations are continuing.

Stokes said it was "a great honor" to serve as fire chief, calling it a "chance to come back home." Stokes said he plans to implement changes to the department and would concentrate on paring down spending.

"We're going to try to save some money," Stokes said.

Stokes replaces former Annapolis Fire Chief Jerome W. Smith, who retired April 1. Deputy Chief Doug Remaley has been serving as interim fire chief.

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