As the pending retirement of Gloucester's interim fire chief approaches, Mayor Carolyn Kirk has named the committee that will lead the search for his successor.
Aiming to find a new permanent chief by January, city officials say Phil Dench's successor won't need to start until the beginning of March. Dench, who was named to the interim post in March 2009, retires Feb. 28.
Kirk said the Fire Chief Selection Committee has been formed in accordance with Section 8-18 of the city's Code of Ordinances.
Personnel Director David Bain, Jr. will serve as chairman of the new eight-person committee.
Members will include City Council President Jackie Hardy, Dr. Richard Maybury, James O'Hara, Jr., who is active in the Citizens for Public Safety citizens' group and a Citizen Emergency Response Team volunteer, Russell Hobbs, retired police chief and former City Councilor Michael McLeod, and two current members of the Fire Department: Deputy Fire Chief Tom Aiello and Fire Captain Tom LoGrande, who is vice president of the local firefighters' union.
This search will be the city's first fire chief search outside the realm of Massachusetts Civil Service regulations, meaning the search is open to candidates from both within and outside the department.
Kirk emphasized, however, that the city will simply look for the most qualified candidate — whether from within Gloucester or elsewhere.
"The search should be open to all qualified candidates," she said, "regardless of whether they are internal or external candidates."
The first step the committee will take is to find and select a qualified assessment consultant to help analyze candidates for fire chief.
This consultant will hold community meetings to hear and gather public input to assist in the development of selection criteria.
"The Administration looks forward to collaborating with the City Council and the search committee on the most important task ahead of us," Kirk said.
Jesse Poole can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3447, or at email@example.com.