Archive for Thursday, May 18, 2006

City council to pore through seven fire chief applications

May 18, 2006

It seems after a month-long reopening of Eudora's fire chief position, Eudora Mayor Tom Pyle and Eudora City Council finally received something to work with.

In executive session during the May 8 city council meeting, City Administrator Cheryl Beatty met with the council to find direction in regard to applications received in response to the most recent opening of the fire chief position. The current round marks the fourth attempt since the city terminated former chief Spencer McCabe in December 2004.

Despite only garnering two applications the previous round ---- and one of those late ---- the current posting brought in seven applications, Beatty said.

"I think there are two from out of state and the rest are from in Kansas," Beatty said.

Although the fire chief position was initially listed as part of the public meeting on the agenda, the council agreed to meet privately to discuss the next step.

"The council was given all the applications during that executive session," Beatty said.

Despite meeting in two separate sessions for a total of less than an hour, the council took no public action on the fire chief position.

A special session, or at least further discussion, could happen before Monday's meeting, Beatty said. But with a week already passed, Beatty said an executive session at the next council meeting was likely.

"At the council meeting or in between council meetings they'll narrow it down to who they want to interview," Beatty said.

During the previous round, the council considered using a board of three outside fire chiefs to help filter through the applications. Because of the scarcity of applications, the council abandoned the plan and decided to put the fire chief position on a two-month hiatus.

In an even earlier attempt to find a fire chief, the city council used a subcommittee to go through the applications and find interviewees.

Pyle will appoint the next chief with the advice of the city council who in turn will either accept or deny the appointment.

Originally, Pyle had appointed an applicant from out of state to take the position last November. The appointment failed 3-2 within the council, partly because of objections to the interview process.

Beatty said she was positive the council could build a consensus for this round of applicants.

"All the council members are going to be in the interview committee instead of the sub-committee involved in the interview process last time," Beatty said. "As city administrator, I'll be ready to work with whomever they select."

She said it appears the council has put the past disagreements concerning the fire chief position behind them.

"I think that this time they have agreed up-front that they want to work together to find the best candidate ---- the best one the job deserves," Beatty said.

The interview process will also help build a consensus for the mayor's appointment, Beatty said.

The next time the council meets to discuss the fire chief position ---- either in special session or in executive session during the next council meeting ---- the focus will be on finding interviewees, Beatty said.

With interviews, Beatty said the eventual hiring could come by the annual July appointment session for department heads.

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