Media Release

Public Safety Director Chief Will Gray May is Retiring

Monday, November 16, 2009 4:15 PM

ALACHUA COUNTY, FL - Alachua County Manager Randall H. Reid announced today that he had received a retirement memo from Public Safety Director Chief Will Gray May.  In the memo Chief May stated," ... I am formally announcing my intention to retire from my position with Alachua County as the Director of Public Safety effective January 31, 2010.  The last 34-plus years serving in the Fire and Emergency Services agencies of Alachua County and Gainesville have been both enjoyable and rewarding to me.  I now look forward to a more relaxed schedule in retirement that will include travel, more time with my family, and continued policy and program work in both fire and emergency services."

To view Chief May's retirement memo click here.

Speaking of Chief May Reid said, "Chief May is leaving a legacy of efficient management and professional public service serving not just Alachua County residents but the residents of the many places around the country he has volunteered to be deployed as a part of our contribution to national emergency management and relief efforts. To call him just Fire Chief may be a term of respect but his responsibilities in the arena of emergency management over the past decade are his overwhelming contribution and unseen by the public at large. Chief May is a dependable leader in an emergency. He shines. You get to know a person real well in the many hours at the Emergency Operations Center when you are a part of a team preparing to get hit by a hurricane that could cause loss of life or alter your community's future."

Chief May was born in Alachua General Hospital and grew up in Gilchrist County/Trenton, on a farm.

Highlights of Chief May's career and activities include:

  • Active Duty US Navy, May 1967 - April 1975
  • Naval Reserve Duty, June 1975 - July 1995
  • Gainesville Fire Department, Gainesville, FL
    o    September 1975 employed as Firefighter
    o    July 1980 appointed Captain (Administrative & Training)
    o    July 1985 promoted District Chief
    o    February 1986 promoted Deputy Chief
    o    July 6, 1990 resigned to accept position of Fire Chief and Emergency Services
          Director - Alachua County
  • Alachua County
    o    July 9, 1990 employed as Fire Chief and Director of Emergency Services
    o    April 1, 2008 title changed to Director of Public Safety, associated with
          Department name change
  • Other Activities:
    o    Regional Domestic Security Task Force: Fire-Rescue Chair 2002 - 2009,
          currently Vice-Chair
    o    Arson Alert Board of Directors: member 1999 to present
    o    International Association of Fire Chiefs:
    o    Wildland Fire Policy Committee: 2003 to present; Co-Chair 2008 - 2011
    o    Representative to the National Wildfire Coordinating Group: 2005 - present
    o    Technology Council, 2007 - present
    o    National Wildfire Coordinating Group: Wildland Urban Interface Mitigation
          Committee Member 2005 - present - Chair 2008 - 2010
    o    Florida Fire Chiefs' Association: Member Board of Directors: 1997 - 2005 
          President: 2003-2004
    o    National Fire Academy, Executive Fire Officer Certification
    o    Wildland Fire Deployments: numerous State of Florida and Western
    o    Development of "alternatives to emergency response" programs including
          expanded fire prevention, wildfire mitigation

Everyone in Alachua County government sends the Chief best wishes for his retirement.

An appreciation event is planned for January, in recognition of his service to the County.

For more information, call the Alachua County Communications Office at 352-374-5204.


  • Mark Sexton
  • Communications & Legislative Affairs Director
  • Phone: 352-374-5204
  • Cell: 352-283-2317

If you have a disability and need an accommodation in order to participate in a County program, service or public meeting, please contact the Alachua County Equal Opportunity Office at 352-374-5275 at least 2 business days prior to the event. TTY users please call 711 (Florida Relay Service).