WALLINGFORD — After officials say they did not find a qualified internal applicant for deputy fire chief, the town decided to expand its search and consider candidates from other fire departments.
The Town Council approved a revised job description for deputy fire chief this week.
The position of deputy fire chief for administration and operations has been open since Fire Chief Joseph Czentnar was promoted in July, after serving as acting fire chief for three months upon the retirement of former chief Richard Heidgerd.
The department’s other deputy fire chief, Sam Wilson, is in charge of EMS and training.
“We’re looking for the best candidate for the position,” Czentnar said Tuesday, “based on the knowledge, skills and abilities — 10 years in a career fire department, with the requisite experience with the type of department that we have, with the size of the community that we have, the type of work that we do.”
The annual salary range is $94,207 to $120,532, according to a memo from town Human Resources Director Jim Hutt.
The revisions to the job description reflect the current work to be performed as well as updated standards and expectations, which includes 10 years of career fire department experience, according to the job description.
The job description elaborates that the candidate must posses a thorough knowledge of modern principles, methods and practices of fire administration, fire suppression and fire prevention theories, principles and techniques, firefighting equipment, among other leadership and decision making qualifications.
Hutt said that when the town ran an exam for the deputy chief position, recruitment was internal and limited to career firefighters in Wallingford.
“That process was not successful,” he said. “The position needs to be filled, and based upon the last group of applicants — the limited number of applicants — we felt that we need to expand this to include some applicants from outside the town of Wallingford career fire department.”
Councilor Chris Shortell pointed out that volunteer firefighters are not eligible for the deputy chief position, even if they have outside management experience from a day job.
Hutt said that the job description has special requirements and certifications exclusive to fire service to consider.
Czentnar added that the department was looking at fire command experience.
“Command experience is a strong requisite for having this role,” he said. “It’s not just managerial skills. In order to gain that type of experience, you have to have … the opportunities to be command at various types of incidents.”