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Fire board to seek inside chief options

New chief should be in place by Aug. 1.

UPDATE: The Polk County Fire District No. 1 board of directors finalized the time line to select the next fire chief at a special board meeting on June 22.

The search for the next chief started with internal recruitment on Thursday and will continue until July 11.

The board will decide at that time if it wants to open the search to outside candidates.

The new chief should be in place by Aug. 1.

INDEPENDENCE — The Polk County Fire District No. 1 board of directors decided to seek the next fire chief internally, differing from the external process the board has taken the last two times it has searched for a new leader.

The chief’s job description and salary were approved at a special meeting Monday night.

The job description for fire chief had not been updated, nor approved by the board, since 2001. The new list of duties and responsibilities was created through members of the board, a staff of volunteers and a representative from the Special Districts Association of Oregon, as well as Deputy Chief Neal Olson and Fire Chief Al Alcalde.

The Special Districts Association of Oregon is performing the search and running the process on behalf of the board, under a contract for not more than $2,820, plus expenses not to exceed $1,000.

Alcalde gave 30-days notice to leave the position on April 25. He agreed to stay on board as chief beyond the 30 days, but July 5 will be his last day.

Olson will be acting chief until a permanent chief is hired.

The board was presented with a timeline for recruitment, assuming it would search for outside candidates as it has in the past. Because board members changed their minds and decided to look at current staff first, with the option to seek outside candidates later, the timeline could be shortened.

The timeline will be finalized at a meeting Wednesday (today) at 6 p.m., but board members said they hope to open recruitment on Thursday.

With that decision, the board will determine how the interview process will go. The proposed process includes interviews with citizen and volunteer committees to give input to the board on who they think is the best candidate. A public meet-and-greet would be scheduled.

With an internal application, fewer committees may be needed.

For an update on this story after the Wednesday board meeting: polkio.com.

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