Sunday, December 08, 2013
Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868
October 15, 2013
DALLAS -- The city of Dallas will get a close-up look at its final five fire chief candidates this week as it conducts a first round of interviews for the post.
The interviews, to be conducted by two panels, will take place on Friday. The five finalists were selected from a pool of 23 applicants.
City Manager Ron Foggin did the preliminary applicant review, cutting the list to six. One of the final six declined the interview.
"I think that we really have some good candidates," Foggin said. "Getting to six was no easy task."
Foggin said he was pleasantly surprised so many people were interested in the job, given that the department is almost entirely volunteer.
He added the candidate selected for the job will have to have a clear plan for increasing recruitment into the department and retaining those who already volunteer.
"We still have a strong base of volunteers, but it's not what it was four years ago," Foggin said. "I think we are down by 20 people."
He noted the poor economy was largely responsible for the losses, but the new chief would have to rise to that challenge to get the job.
"People have been having to find work outside the city and that hurts your numbers," Foggin said. "But knowing that, what else can we do to bring people back?"
Foggin said he would meet with members of the two interview panels -- one consisting of fire department officials, the "expert panel," and another of city leaders and residents, the "community panel" -- to narrow the five candidates to two, perhaps three.
He said checking qualifications won't have to be a factor in selecting the top two.
"Everybody who is on the list meets or exceeds the requirements we are looking for in a chief," Foggin said. "That aspect of it was easy."
Foggin will then conduct a second interview with the top two or three candidates next week before naming the new fire chief.
Foggin declined to reveal who the five finalists were, but said the names of the top candidates he will interview will be made public. All candidates are currently working in Oregon.
Current Dallas Fire Chief Bill Hahn will retire in December and the city hopes to have new fire chief hired by then.