The Buffalo Fire Department held its promotions ceremony, Monday, Sept. 16, 2013. 43 firefighters were promoted to positions of division chief, battalion chief, captain and lieutenant. Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield, Jr. makes his remarks after Mayor Byron Brown, behind on right. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)
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Before the recent forced resignation of Deputy Commissioner Vincent R. Gugliuzza, the Buffalo Fire Department top brass included no one from the uniformed ranks. The department’s leaders were:

Garnell W. Whitfield Jr.

Title: Buffalo fire commissioner

2013 gross pay: $142,116

Civil service status: Firefighter; chief fire administrator

Original hiring date: September 1984

Age: 57

Whitfield worked as a firefighter for 14 years before moving into headquarters as a fire administrator in 1998.

He was promoted to deputy commissioner in 2004 by former Mayor Anthony M. Masiello and to commissioner in 2010 by Mayor Byron W. Brown

Joseph J. Tomizzi

Title: Deputy fire commissioner

2013 gross pay: $120,778

Civil service status: Firefighter

Original hiring date: March 2000

Age: 48

Tomizzi was a firefighter for four years before being named an arson investigator in 2004 and head of the arson unit in 2010.

He was named deputy commissioner by Brown in 2011.

Vincent R. Gugliuzza

Title: deputy fire commissioner (resigned March 31, 2014)

2013 gross pay: $129,273

Civil service status: Firefighter

Original hiring date: April 1985

Age: 61

Gugliuzza became active in union activities about 10 years into his firefighting career, and was voted in 1999 to a three-year term as union president. He was serving as union vice president when appointed deputy commissioner in 2010 by Brown. Gugliuzza was forced to resign from the post March 31, and reverted back to a firefighter position in the department’s mask room. He plans to retire by the end of the year.

Peterson taking over

Buffalo’s newest deputy fire commissioner is Capt. Kevin D. Peterson, head of the department’s hazardous materials unit. Peterson replaces former deputy commissioner Vincent R. Gugliuzza, who was forced to resign at the end of March. Peterson is expected to start his new job this week.

Kevin D. Peterson

Title: deputy fire commissioner (as of April 1)

2013 salary: $121,597 (as captain)

Civil service status: Captain

Original hiring date: April 1987

Age: 47

Peterson is a 27-year veteran of the Fire Department, with the civil service rank of captain, who was serving as head of the department’s hazardous material unit before being appointed deputy commissioner April 1.

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