BARTOW, Fla. (WFLA) – Polk County Fire Rescue Chief Robert Weech is expected to soon leave the department he has led since 2019.
The Lighthouse Point city commission voted unanimously Tuesday night to appoint Weech as fire chief. Lighthouse Point is a suburb about 15 miles north of Fort Lauderdale, in Broward County.
Weech has not tendered his resignation to Polk County at this time but his “impending departure” is expected, according to Deputy County Manager Joe Halman.
“While we are deeply saddened at his impending departure, we are excited for him to return to his hometown and provide top notch quality fire services. Make no mistake about it, Chief Weech is a professional and we will miss him dearly!!!!!” Halman wrote in a statement.
Chief Weech did not respond to News Channel 8’s request for comment Tuesday.
According to sources close to Weech, the chief has lived separately from his family for the five and a half years he has been with Polk County Fire Rescue.
Three county commissioners News Channel 8 spoke with Tuesday morning were unaware of the potential departure.
“Shocked, wish him all the best. He’s a great chief, good guy, smart. It’s Polk County’s loss,” said commissioner George Lindsey.
“Surprised. I really like the guy so I really wish this wasn’t happening. I totally like the guy,” said commissioner Bill Braswell.
A representative from the Lighthouse Point clerk’s office said the city has a population of 10,500 people.
Polk County Fire Rescue serves over 700,000 people.
The department he is expected to leave has been dealing with staffing issues and mandatory overtime for several years as the county faces explosive growth in population.
Earlier this year, Chief Weech announced a $1.2 million plan to address the paramedic shortage.