Gloucester's Fire Chief search committee Thursday named three finalists in the city's search for its new permanent chief.
And over the next two weeks, Mayor Carolyn Kirk will name either the city's acting fire chief, a deputy fire chief from Falmouth, or a deputy fire chief from Michigan, as the next head of Gloucester's Fire Department.
Committee members chose Acting Gloucester Fire Chief Steven Aiello, Falmouth Deputy Fire Chief Glen Rogers, and Westland (Mich.) Deputy Fire Chief Eric Smith as the three finalists.
That ends the committee's work, according to a memo from Personnel Director and committee chair David Bain, while it also starts Kirk's final interview process.
Members of the search committee interviewed five semifinalists in two sessions last month. Two of the semifinalists, Deputy Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director Miles Schilchte and retired Providence R.I. Fire Department Deputy Chief Timothy McDaniel didn't make the committee's final cut.
"These (three) were candidates the committee felt would be the best," Bain said.
Kirk said she's comfortable with the three finalists.
"I'm comfortable that I have three very qualified candidates," she said.
Kirk said she expects she'll start interviewing the candidates next Monday.
Each day, Kirk said, she and city staff will interview one candidate for three hours. These sessions, unlike the search committee interviews two weeks ago, are not public.
Kirk and Bain will conduct the first half-hour of the interview, with the next 45-minute segment conducted by Sander Shultz, the city's emergency medical services coordinator and a fire captain.
The next segment will be with Jeff Towne, chief financial officer, Suzanne Egan, solicitor, Jim Duggan, chief administrative officer, and Mike Lane, the city's interim police chief.
Kirk and Bain will conduct the last hour of the session, which Kirk said would be more informal than the first two and will also include a drive through the city with the candidates. Kirk expects to have her appointment made within two weeks, with a contract negotiated soon afterward.
Her appointment requires City Council approval.
She said she's looking for a candidate who can reshape the city's fire department into a 21st-century department with a predominant medical response activity base.
Gloucester has been without a permanent fire chief since March 2009, when Barry McKay stepped down. Phil Dench served as interim chief for nearly three years before retiring in February of this year, while Aiello has been serving as acting chief since that time.
Steven Fletcher may be contacted at 1-978-283-7000 x3455, or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @stevengdt.