The Florida League of Cities (FLC), celebrating its 100th anniversary as the united voice for Florida’s municipal governments, recently recognized Palm Beach’s Chief Darrel Donatto with a 2022 Home Rule Hero Award for their hard work and advocacy efforts during the 2022 Legislative Session. Chief Darrel Donatto worked tirelessly throughout session to promote local voices making local choices, protect the Home Rule powers of Florida’s municipalities and advance the League’s legislative agenda.
“On behalf of the League and its legislative team, we’re very proud to present this year’s Home Rule Hero Awards to a deserving group of municipal leaders,” said FLC Director of Legislative Affairs Casey Cook. “We had a record number of Home Rule Heroes this year, which shows the dedication and impact of local officials on behalf of their residents and businesses in protecting local decision-making. These local officials were constantly engaged and actively advocating for their communities throughout the 2022 Legislative Session. They’re heroes for Home Rule and we thank them for their efforts.”
Home Rule is the ability for a city to address local problems with local solutions with minimal state interference. Home Rule Hero Award recipients are local government officials, both elected and nonelected, who consistently responded to the League’s request to reach out to members of the legislature and help give a local perspective on an issue.
Fire Rescue Chief Donatto has over 41 years of fire service experience, serving the past 23+ of those years as a chief officer. He has been with Palm Beach Fire Rescue for the past 16 years. Prior to joining the Department, he worked for the City of Riviera Beach Fire Rescue for 18 years, retiring as their Deputy Fire Chief.
He has a Master’s of Business Administration degree, Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Leadership, and Associate of Science degree in Fire Science and Emergency Medical Services. He also holds an Executive Certificate in Business Analytics from Florida Atlantic University. He is a Florida certified Firefighter, Paramedic, Fire Inspector, and Fire Instructor III.
Chief Donatto is an active member of International Association of Fire Chiefs and the Florida Fire Chief's Association (FFCA). He is the Past-President of the FFCA, as well as the Chair of the FFCA Government Relations Committee. He is the Past-President of the Fire Chiefs Association of Palm Beach County. He also currently serves on the Governing Board of St. Mary’s Medical Center. He currently serves on the Florida League of Cities Legislative Committee. In addition, he is an active participant on the Palm Beach Civic Association’s Health Care Committee and Public Safety Committee.
“It is an honor to have the opportunity to work on legislative matters for both the Florida Fire Chiefs’ Association and the Town of Palm Beach. I am a firm believer in home rule that is that local governments should be able to decide local affairs. In our system of government, people are elected to serve their neighbors, do to what is best for their community. Big government is not the way to manage local affairs.”