New fire chief sworn in

Published 1:05 am Saturday, September 29, 2018

The City Council chamber was full Friday afternoon as old and new colleagues, family and friends gathered to watch Michael Barakey be sworn in as Suffolk’s new fire chief.

The mayor, the entire City Council and other city leaders had the opportunity to share kind words and good wishes about Barakey and the experience he is bringing to Suffolk Fire and Rescue.

“You have honed your leadership, and you are ready to lead the brave men and women in Suffolk,” said Mayor Linda T. Johnson. “He has pledged his faith and support, and I look forward to the long career in Suffolk. I’m proud to welcome to him into our family.”

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Barakey is joining Suffolk Fire and Rescue after 25 years with the Virginia Beach Fire Department as a district fire chief.

The rest of his resume is just as impressive, and Suffolk Police Chief Thomas Bennett read off some his accomplishments.

“Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to get my hands on his resume, and to say I was impressed is an understatement,” Bennett said.

In Virginia Beach, Barakey has provided leadership over special operations, personnel and development, communications and information technology, finance and budget, resource management, research and analysis, accreditation and training.

“I had the chance to talk with him and I had a great feeling when we were talking, and I had an even better feeling when he walked out,” Bennett said. “He has a plan and knows what he is going to do.”

Circuit Court Clerk Randy Carter swore in Barakey with his family by his side. Barakey used his family’s Bible for the occasion.

“It is my honor and privilege to do this, and I’ll honor the position,” Barakey said. “Thank you all for the warm welcome. Since the appointment was released, the reception within Suffolk has been so fulfilling.”

The new fire chief offered his thanks to all those that made it possible for him to get this position, and he named family, friends and former colleagues.

“Thank you for believing in me and giving me the work over the years,” Barakey said. “I plan to lead with passion and desire.”

Barakey is ready for this next adventure in Suffolk, and his plan is to bring the Fire and Rescue department into the future.

“This is an opportunity for me to lead this fantastic organization into the next decade,” Barakey said. “There is so much growth here, and we need to be looking at the next 10 years.”