Cyclone Seroja recovery lead Melissa Pexton first female to be appointed DFES deputy commissioner

Phoebe PinGeraldton Guardian
Melissa Pexton has been appointed the new DFES deputy commissioner.
Camera IconMelissa Pexton has been appointed the new DFES deputy commissioner. Credit: Jackson Flindell/The West Australian

The woman in charge of overseeing the Mid West’s cyclone Seroja recovery effort has been promoted, making her the first female to hold the role of Department of Fire and Emergency Services deputy commissioner.

Melissa Pexton was on Thursday appointed as the new DFES deputy commissioner, strategy and emergency management.

She will also continue to manage the Seroja rebuild as State Recovery Controller for the April 2021 disaster.

Ms Pexton has taken over from Mal Cronstedt, who has retired after more than 40 years of working in emergency services.

DFES Commissioner Darren Klemm praised Ms Pexton for her role in helping those affected by Seroja to rebuild their lives and said she would continue to serve the community in her new position.

“Melissa Pexton has shown outstanding leadership in her role as State Recovery Controller, leading the considerable recovery effort required in the aftermath of tropical cyclone Seroja, which left a trail of destruction that affected 16 local governments in the Mid-West, Gascoyne and Wheatbelt regions,” he said.

“She has provided unwavering support for these communities during extremely challenging times on their recovery journey.

“Melissa has an extensive knowledge of emergency management with significant experience at the national, State and local level, invaluable assets which make her the ideal person to fill such an important position at DFES as deputy commissioner, strategy and emergency management.”

Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson congratulated Ms Pexton on her “landmark” achievement.

“It is a landmark day, with Ms Pexton’s appointment being the first time a female will serve as a deputy commissioner at DFES,” he said.

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