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Waukesha fire chief search enters final stages

Interim chief has been in place for almost a year

Feb. 26, 2013

The City of Waukesha could be close to having its next fire chief.

Voorhees Associates, the Illinois-based firm that has been helping the city narrow down the candidates over the last few months, was scheduled to meet with the city's Police and Fire Commission on Monday to review and select candidates for the interview process.

According to a schedule provided by Mark Morien, of Voorhees Associates, the firm will conduct an Assessment Center, a process used in the selection of qualified individuals for a job, next week.

The Police and Fire Commission will then conduct first- and second-round interviews with the finalists before a selection is made.

Although Assistant Fire Chief Steve Howard has served as the interim fire chief since Allen LaConte retired in March 2012, the search did not begin until mid-November. The Common Council was reluctant to fund a search because they said there are qualified candidates within the department.

Others, however, said that a search firm should be used in order to remain transparent and to ensure that the city gets the best candidate. City Administrator Ed Henschel said when the Common Council ultimately voted for a search firm that it would cost $16,300.

The starting salary for the fire chief is $110,000. The chief is responsible for an organization of 106 members that includes firefighters/paramedics, equipment operators, fire inspection personnel, administrative support and command staff. The department has a budget of $12.3 million.

The chief, who is under the authority of the mayor, reports to the city administrator and oversees the provision of fire suppression, emergency medical services, hazardous materials handling, fire prevention/public education and fire investigation services.

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