116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — The city of Iowa City has announced three finalists for city’s next fire chief.
Current Chief John Grier is retiring Friday after nearly 30 years with the department.
Grier announced last fall he would be retiring. The city posted the chief’s position in October and accepted applications through Dec. 3. Eighteen people applied, City Manager Geoff Fruin told The Gazette.
The three finalists are Scott Lyon, assistant fire chief at the Urbandale Fire Department in the Des Moines metro area; Joseph Murray, deputy fire chief with the Beloit Fire Department in Beloit, Wis.; and Scott Sarver, district chief at South Metro Fire Rescue in Centennial, Colo.
Lyon, who’s been with the Urbandale department since 2014, was previously deputy fire chief in Clive, another Des Moines suburb. He graduated from Waldorf College with a degree in fire administration in 2014 and completed a master’s degree in organizational leadership in 2017.
Murray has been with the Beloit department since 1994. He earned an associate degree in fire science from Wisconsin State College in 1997 and a bachelor’s degree in homeland security from the American Military University in 2011.
Sarver has been with the South Metro Fire Rescue since 1998. He graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in sociology in 1993 and earned a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia Southern University in 2019.
Grier told The Gazette last year he didn’t intend on becoming a firefighter, but the “timing was right” and led to a 29-year career with the Iowa City Fire Department.
Grier started as a firefighter with the department on Aug. 10, 1992, and climbed the ranks, serving as lieutenant, captain, battalion chief and fire marshal before being appointed chief in 2013.
He also has worked part-time as a paramedic for the Johnson County Ambulance Service for more than 20 years.
Grier said he takes pride in a number of accomplishments, including getting a new training facility for the department after the previous one closed due to development in the Riverfront Crossings District.
He said he also is proud of the department’s “top-notch” equipment and vehicles, as well as the city acquiring land for a fifth fire station.
“I feel like I'm leaving the department in a good place and to let somebody else pick it up and take it from here,” Grier said.
Meet the finalists
Residents can meet the three finalists at a public reception Feb. 17 at the Terry Trueblood Recreation Area’s Park Lodge, 579 McCollister Blvd. The reception begins at 5:30 p.m.
The fire chief is appointed by the city manager and approved by the Civil Service Commission and the Iowa City Council.
The chief is responsible for an annual operating budget of $9.2 million and a sworn staff of 63 employees, according to the job listing. The salary for the position ranges from $100,277 to $158,912.
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