A new chief for the Clinton Fire Department is expected to be announced Friday, while the next police chief could be named within the “next couple weeks,” the city manager said Wednesday.
An assessment center was held Monday and Tuesday for the police chief position. Approximately 50 applications were received for the post, which is being vacated by Chief Mike Brim after eight years. City manager John Connet said the 50 applications were narrowed to seven after being extensively reviewed based on education, experience and background.
Five of the seven candidates participated in the assessment center process earlier this week and those candidates are expected to be whittled down over the next couple weeks leading up to an announcement.
Such an announcement is imminent for the next fire chief, a vacancy for which more than 60 applications were received. Interim fire chief Robert Swiger is currently leading the department. Former chief Todd Solice stepped down at the end of last year in favor of resuming his previous role as deputy fire chief.
Solice was hired following an extensive five-month hiring process that included public input sessions, focus groups and an evaluation of more than 40 applicants for the position. The 60 applications received this time around were reviewed and a similar assessment center conducted for the top five applicants. That assessment center was held about a month ago, and the list was whittled further to a select number of candidates — now a top candidate.
“We expect to make an announcement (regarding the fire chief) by Friday,” said Connet. “We have narrowed it to the top candidate and there’s still a little more work to do, and we will be talking to them.”
The assessment centers draws from citizen and selected individuals’ feedback to gauge the knowledge and abilities of those up for the chief’s position, essentially testing the traits they would like to see in the person who holds that position. It is a process that utilizes that feedback, as well as various interviews and exercises, in order to evaluate candidates and show the relevant attributes they have to serve in the capacity.
Mayor Lew Starling said earlier this month that city officials were “excited with the qualifications of the candidates who have shown interest.” Connet said the announcement for the fire chief would be forthcoming, and a police chief was expected to be hired in the near future. Brim announced that he will be retiring Oct. 1 and Connet has expressed his intention to have the position filled before Brim’s departure.
A tentative timetable was presented by Connet earlier this year that would have seen a new fire chief hired by June and a police chief named by September. While the fire chief search is about a month behind based on that initial schedule, the city is seemingly ahead of schedule on its police chief hire, with the position poised to be filled well before September.
“We expect to make an announcement on the new police chief in the next couple weeks,” Connet said.
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.