By Mark F. Gray, Special to the AFRO, mgray@afro.com

Another African American woman is making history by holding a major leadership position within Prince George’s County’s government.  County Executive Angela Alsobrooks announced Prince George’s native Tiffany Green as interim chief of Prince George’s County Fire and Emergency Medical Service, once Benjamin Barksdale retires in November.

Green has been with the department for more than 20 years and will continue to serve as the deputy chief until assuming the authority of leading it within the next 90 days.  She, like Alsobrooks, is a lifelong resident and the first Black woman to run the fire department in the County’s history.

Tiffany Green was named interim chief of the Prince George’s County’s Fire and Emergency Medical Service after Benjamin Barksdale retires, once Benjamin Barksdale retires. (Photo/princegeorgescountymd.gov)

“Deputy Chief Green is here this morning not because she is a female, not because she is a Prince Georgian, but because she is qualified,” Alsobrooks said at the press conference. “She took the time to make herself qualified and take on various leadership positions. I think that is a wonderful model for all the youth of Prince George’s to follow.”

Green joins Dr. Monica Goldson, who was named chief executive officer of Prince George’s County Public Schools, also becoming the first woman of color to break the barrier of leadership in her position. She joins a new contingent of Black women leading County agencies and holding offices such as school board CEO and State’s Attorney.  During the 2018 elections the County also elected Aisha Braveboy to succeed Alsobrooks as State’s Attorney. The County Executive is expected to make Green’s appointment permanent after the County Council’s approval in the fall. 

Green’s career with the Department began in 1995 starting as a volunteer before becoming a career firefighter. She is a married mother of a daughter, and her appointment to chief serves as a role model for other young girls in the County.

“Someone always challenges whether I should be here, I should definitely be here,” Green said. ”Regardless of the challenge, regardless of the culture, I have to be able to move forward and be that example.”  

Under Alsobrooks leadership, Prince George’s County has made a conscious effort to move away from hiring candidates who are unfamiliar with the County, which had been a concern of its residents. This became an important issue after the embarrassing tenure of former PGPCS CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell, who came from Anne Arundel County, and was forced to resign from his position as CEO of school system, but still collected an $800,000 severance package. 

 In this instance Alsobrooks said Green was the most qualified person for the job adding that her promotion was part of a new philosophy where citizens of the County get the chance to advance in leadership positions of government agencies. 

“If you have committed yourself here if you have done the things necessary to develop yourself as a leader, we want to make sure that you have the opportunity,” Alsobrooks said.  “We do have a wonderful talent pool in the county that’s growing and getting better every day.”

Green will be replacing outgoing Chief Benjamin Barksdale, whose retirement becomes official November 1.  Barksdale had been with the Fire Department for nine years and served the last three as chief. Alsobrooks praised Barksdale for his vigilance in making County residents aware of the importance of smoke detectors and other safety measures through appearances at community meetings.   

  “He has served us with distinction,” said Alsobrooks. “He led in a very strong and effective way.

Alsobrooks praised the way Barksdale led the department and for the compassion he showed after the death of career firefighter John Ulmschneider, who was killed by gunfire during a welfare check on Darrel Lumpkin at his Temple Hills residence in 2016.