NEW CANAAN, CT — Russell Kimes III, currently the assistant chief and head of volunteers for the New Canaan Fire Department, was named the town’s new Emergency Management director, New Canaan First Selectman Kevin Moynihan announced Tuesday.
Kimes replaces Mike Handler, who resigned from the post in June after nearly 10 years in the role. New Canaan Fire Chief Jack Hennessey had been serving in the role on an interim basis following Handler’s resignation.
Handler and Moynihan began to clash during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, which Handler saying that he could no longer “do what is in the best interest of the people of New Canaan” under Moynihan.
For his part, the First Selectman said that he had been receiving complaints from staff about how Handler dealt with some of them, which contributed to the resignation.
Moynihan hopes to avoid such a situation with Kimes, a third-generation, lifelong resident of New Canaan. His appointment to director was unanimously approved by the Board of Selectmen on Monday, and at the same time, Philip Scheibley also was unanimously named Deputy Emergency Management Director.
“First, I want to thank Fire Chief Jack Hennessey for his service and leadership as Acting EMD since early June, and especially during the recent Tropical Storm Isaias, where he stood up the EOC for eight days straight,” said Moynihan. “Jack served as Deputy EMD for almost a decade and remains a key member of the EOC team.
“New Canaan is very fortunate to have an amazingly talented and experienced Emergency Operations Center team, of which Russ Kimes and Phil Sheibley have been important members. I am very pleased that Russ has stepped up to lead and further serve his hometown as Emergency Management Director as he has for many years as a volunteer leader with Fire Company #1, and as he served our country as a Marine.”
Kimes has been a volunteer of Fire Company #1 for 22 years, and also is a certified emergency medical technician and “has many years of experience working in the New Canaan Emergency Operations Center including the major events Hurricanes Sandy and Irene.”
Additionally, Kimes is employed full time as a vice president with a leading global investment bank in New York City where he leads the HR Data Governance function, according to Moynihan. He served in the United States Marine Corps for eight years, and was deployed to Iraq in 2003. He also serves as Commander of New Canaan’s Howard M. Bossa and Peter C. Langenus Post 653 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Sheibley is a 16-year resident of New Canaan who retired from a 30-year career with Accenture where he held a leadership role in consulting in the Life Sciences industry. He also has been a volunteer with the town’s all-volunteer Emergency Management Service (ambulance service) since 2015, for which he served over the last two years as Captain, responsible for EMS operations including the liaison role with the Emergency Operations Center in emergencies.
Additionally, Sheibley is a former board member of the New Canaan Community Foundation and serves as vice-chair of the board of trustees of Lehigh University, his alma mater.
“Russ and Phil will make a terrific team to keep New Canaan prepared for future emergencies and to keep our residents safe,” Moynihan said. “I personally am very grateful for their dedication and service to our community.”