By Times Staff
The delayed search for Gloucester's new permanent fire chief will take some tangible steps forward this week when the city's consulting firm coordinating recruitment for the search takes input from residents during the first of three public hearings.
The ad-hoc search committee will open the hearings Friday. The first is from 10 a.m. to noon at the Rose Baker Senior Center. A second session is slated for Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Gloucester High School lecture auditorium.
The final session will be the following Saturday, Jan. 14, at City Hall's Kyrouz Auditorium, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
The meetings, outlined in the January 2011 ordinance that defines the steps for seeking a permanent chief to succeed Phil Dench, who steps down at the end of the February after three years as interim chief, also represent one of the first steps in advancing the search and will be MRI's first step in the process.
After taking residents' input regarding what qualities and qualifications they want in the next chief, the New Hampshire-based consulting firm, which has also worked for the city in providing two fire "after-action" reports and a 2010 public safety audit, will then use that information to advertise for applicants.
MRI will then whittle down the applicants to up to seven candidates, who will face public interviews, and the search committee will present the names of up to three finalists to Mayor Carolyn Kirk.
The mayor will then re-interview the candidates and select her choice for chief.
Neither the mayor nor Search Committee officials have set a revised time for naming the next chief.