Government

6 finalists named for Cedar Rapids fire chief

31 applications were received

(File photo) The Cedar Rapids Central Fire Station on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
(File photo) The Cedar Rapids Central Fire Station on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Two local candidates are among a slate of six finalists vying to become the next Cedar Rapids fire chief.

After evaluating video interviews, the three-member Cedar Rapids Civil Services Commission presented the list to Cedar Rapids City Manager Jeff Pomeranz, who will ultimately make the selection in consultation with the City Council. Up next will be on-site interviews and a public presentation later in March.

“We get everyone involved when we select a key team member like fire chief,” Pomeranz said. “Public safety is the most important activity of a city government. A huge portion of that is protecting the public from fire and life-threatening situations. We need the right leader to make sure the fire department continues to develop and improve.”

The finalists include:

• Andrew Oleson, acting assistant chief of operations, administrative district chief and chief of training with the Cedar Rapids Fire Department.

• Gregory Smith, assistant chief of operations with the Cedar Rapids Fire Department.

• Stephen Kelly, fire and emergency medical services chief with the Miami Township Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department in Clermont County, Ohio.

• Christopher Bachman, deputy chief with the Pike Township Fire Department in Indianapolis, Ind.

• David Rierson, fire chief with the Marshalltown (Iowa) Fire Department.

• J. Chris Richmond, division chief and fire marshal in the Springfield (Ill.) Fire Department.

Pomeranz described the field as “strong.”

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The finalists were winnowed from a pool of 31 applicants as part of a national search. Springsted Waters, an executive search firm based in Addison, Texas, had a $28,500 contract to serve as search consultant.

Pomeranz said the field may be culled to as few as four for final on site interviews, which are expected to occur in the last week of March. Candidates will be called to deliver a public presentation on a yet-to-be-determined topic and attend a meet-and-greet with citizens, said Teresa Feldmann, Cedar Rapids human resources director.

A selection is expected in early April, Pomeranz said. The position pays $115,000 to $159,000 plus benefits, according to a job information sheet.

The fire chief oversees 148 full time employees, nine fire stations and a $20 million annual budget.

The person hired will succeed Mark English, who announced his retirement on Sept. 19 after more than six months of paid medical leave. English, who was named chief in 2011, was earning $148,366.

l Comments: (319) 398-8310; brian.morelli@thegazette.com

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