North Collier Fire Rescue

North Collier Fire Rescue

The North Collier Fire Control & Rescue District was formed in 2015 by the merger of two existing special independent fire districts: the North Naples Fire Control and Rescue District and the Big Corkscrew Island Fire Control and Rescue District. A chief goal of the merger was to improve efficiency and promote more cost-effective use of tax dollars, a directive that had been overwhelmingly supported by voters from both districts. (See my post Fire and Emergency Medical Services in Collier County.)

The District is overseen by a five-member Board of Fire Commissioners who are elected in at-large nonpartisan elections and serve four-year staggered terms.

Find your fire district here (expand the left sidebar and check “Fire Districts”).

Earlier this year, the commissioner holding Seat 1 resigned, so it will be on the November ballot. In addition, the terms of Seats 2 and 4 expire and are also on the ballot.

The Board of Fire Commissioners has overall responsibility and authority for the operation of the District. It sets the District’s policy, approves its annual budget, levies taxes, and provides direction and guidance to staff. It also employs a Fire Chief who is directly responsible to the Board, and who has responsibility for and authority over all departmental personnel, property, and activities of the District. (Source: District website)

In this post, I will review what I learned from researching the candidates and the money that is financing the campaigns. I will also share excerpts from the candidates’ responses to candidate questionnaires (edited for clarity and brevity) as well as links to the complete documents. Please see How I Research Candidates and 6 Things to Consider When Evaluating Candidates for my approach to writing these posts.

Seat 1

Christopher Crossan and Anthony Scire are running for Seat 1.

Christopher Crossan

Chris Crossan
Chris Crossan

Christopher Crossan, age 50, grew up on Marco Island and joined the Marco Island Fire-Rescue Department as a young volunteer right out of high school in 1990. He later earned a degree in fire science and trained as an emergency medical technician, fire inspector, and in handling hazardous materials. He rose through the ranks working as a firefighter, ultimately retiring as Fire Chief after 30 years of service in 2021.

Crossan was an advocate for the fire district consolidation voters approved in 2014 and was elected in 2016 to Seat 1 on the newly merged District Board. A Naples Daily News endorsement at the time said that “Crossan’s background and years of fire board involvement … set him apart at a time consolidation remains in its formative stages…. Crossan would be the only career firefighter on the board, which we consider just as important as having an educator on a school board.”

Reelected without a challenger in 2020, Crossan stepped down from the Board in late 2021 around the time of his retirement as Marco Island Fire Chief. As mentioned above, the incumbent in Seat 1 resigned earlier in the year, and Crossan is now running to serve the remainder of the term.

In His Own Words

Anthony Scire

Anthony Scire, age 70, has been a Collier County resident for 17 years. He has served as president of his homeowners association and also served on the board of the Pelican Bay Community Development District (CDD) board.

Internet research found no information about Anthony Scire. No Candidate Statement or financial reports have been filed with the Supervisor of Elections. However, he did respond to the League of Women Voters’ VOTE411 questionnaire. Here are excerpts of some of his responses:

Asked what professional and personal experiences make him the best candidate for Fire Commissioner, Scire says he had a “unique opportunity” of “working with individuals and supporting the needs of police officers in New York transit police as a civilian.”

He says the main issues in the District are affordable housing, medical after retirement, and proper treatment and funding for cancer and PTSD treatments.

Regarding the District’s need for additional funding, he says, “additional funding is always needed. How we get there is an interesting objective which I am working toward, and if elected I plan to present my ideas.”

In His Own Words

  • Campaign Website — none found
  • Facebook Page — none found
  • LinkedIn Page — none found
  • 2022 Supervisor of Elections Candidate Statement — none filed
  • VOTE411 Candidate Questionnaire
  • Sparker’s Soapbox candidate questionnaire — did not respond

Seat 2

Incumbent Jim Burke and Tyler Hardt are running for Seat 2.

Jim Burke

Jim Burke

Jim Burke, age 84, is a 24-year Collier County resident. He holds a BS in Industrial Relations from LeMoyne College, Syracuse, NY, and held management positions with Procter & Gamble, Holiday Inns Hotels, and Promus Hotels.

Burke was first elected as a North Naples Fire Commissioner in 2008 and has been reelected ever since. His long-time community service also includes eight years on the Pelican Bay Services Division Board, 12 years on the Pelican Bay Property Owners Association, 18 years on the Collier County Coastal Advisory Committee, and 20 years as a Collier Harvest Volunteer. Leadership positions in those organizations have included terms as Board Chairman of his condo association, chairman of the Pelican Bay Services Division, and chairman of the Collier County Coastal Advisory Committee.

He says he is running for reelection “In an effort to play a major role in preparing the NCFD for the challenges facing emergency services providers in a growing service delivery area.” If elected, he wants to add three new fire stations to the District’s existing 12, expand the District’s emergency medical service delivery reach, and solidify the District’s financial future.

“Voters should be aware of the challenges facing the agency that responds to their 911 calls, he says. “The District has grown in area served, population served, services provided as well as skills required of the firefighter first responders, all of which must be properly funded if the service is to continue expanding and improving. [Having] experienced commissioners, working closely with staff leadership, is vitally important at this point in time.”

In His Own Words

Tyler Hardt

Tyler Hardt

Tyler Hardt, age 42, earned a Bachelor of Science in Finance from the University of Maryland, an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). He is the founder and Chief Investment Officer of Pelican Bay Capital Management, LLC, an institutional investment manager. He previously spent a decade as an equity analyst for a mutual fund company, and also held roles in corporate finance and mergers & acquisitions for AT&T and American Tire.

Hardt says the North Collier Fire District is “facing significant challenges posed by the combination of an accelerated growth in population and higher inflation. The District is also still navigating the financial implications of the merger between the North Naples and Big Corkscrew districts.” While it has “excellent leadership with great commissioners with years of experience in operations management, legal affairs, and working with first responders,” he says his financial expertise will be a significant benefit to the district and complement the existing commissioners’ strengths.

If elected, Hardt’s first priority would be the recruitment, training, and retention of the District’s first responders. The second would be preparing for continuing population growth by developing appropriate long-term plans for facilities and equipment needs. And thirdly, he says, “we need to resolve open financial issues concerning the merger between North Naples and Big Corkscrew fire districts.”

“The ability to continue existing service levels from our amazing first responders while keeping the budget in check and taxes low is the biggest issue our citizens will face over the next several years,” Hardt says. “The citizens deserve a representative on the Commission with strong financial acumen and problem-solving skills, and I will be that Commissioner.”

In His Own Words

Seat 4

Chris Lombardo

Seat 4 incumbent Commissioner Chris Lombardo was unchallenged, so he will be automatically reelected to another four-year term in November.

The Money

According to campaign finance filings online on 10/10/22:

North Collier Fire District Money

Of note is the fact that only one candidate, Seat 2 incumbent Jim Burke, has raised money in the North Collier Fire Commission races. By comparison, a total of almost $49,000 was raised by the candidates in the Greater Naples Fire Commission races, of which $25,000 were loans to the campaigns by the candidates themselves. Implications? I’m not sure…

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