Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Hailey prepares to choose new fire chief

Public meeting set today to introduce 3 finalists

Express Staff Writer

Mike Chapman

    The Hailey City Council will hold a public hearing at 4:30 p.m. today, Oct. 9, at City Hall to introduce three finalists in the hiring process for a new fire chief.  The council will then convene in an executive session to discuss their decision.
    “The Hailey fire chief is a highly public figure responsible for many levels of public safety,” states a memo sent from Hailey City Hall last week. “A key component of the job involves interface with other emergency response agencies and public officials to improve public safety through mutual aid and cooperative efforts. This community introduction allows community members, other agencies, and government officials to meet the three finalists.”
    Hailey Fire Chief Mike Chapman recently retired and plans to move to Colorado. The city advertised for the position at the state and national levels, receiving more than 30 “well-qualified applications,” the memo states. The field was narrowed to three, based on supplemental interviews. The three finalists, as described by the city, are:
    - Craig Aberbach, of Cape Coral, Fla., with 24 years of fire rescue, emergency management and administrative leadership experience. He has served as division chief, battalion chief and captain of special operations.  He holds a master’s degree in management and an AA Degree in Fire Science. He served as a course designer and instructor at Florida State Fire College and various fire academies and conferences.  Working as the director at Edison State College, his responsibilities included Fire Academy oversight, EMT and paramedic programs, and both Fire and EMS classes and associated degrees. He was honored as the State of Florida Fire Service Instructor of the Year in 2000.
    - Brady Austin, of Rigby, Idaho, has 21 years of experience and currently serves as battalion chief for one of the largest fire departments in the state. He has also served on volunteer fire departments in his various home communities. He has crisis- and risk-management skills; operations leadership; labor, budgeting and special rescue experience, including hazardous materials response, confined-space rescues, and work on wildland or wildland/urban interface fires. He is working to obtain a bachelor of science degree in fire service administration coupled with a major/minor in political science from Idaho State University, and serves as an instructor/evaluator for the Idaho Division of Professional-Technical Emergency Services, through which he instructs state-approved courses to various fire departments.  He also teaches approved courses and assists in drill and exercise design for the Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security.  
- Mark Meaker, of Logan, Utah, has 39 years of experience, including 13 combined years as fire chief for two cities in Utah and California. He holds a certified chief officer designation from the state of California. He has worked in a variety of combination volunteer and paid departments, as well as full-career departments of all sizes. He promoted countywide cooperative agreements in the areas of regional fire training, a regional fire public education consortium, and developed a countywide joint special operations organization that operates technical rescue and hazardous materials teams.  He holds a master’s degree in public administration, a bachelor of arts in journalism and communications, and an AA Degree in Fire Technology. He has received numerous awards, including the Elk Grove Man of the Year Award from Elk Grove, Calif.  
    In addition to the public introduction today, the three finalists will meet and converse with the Hailey Volunteer Fire Association, interview with the Hailey City Council, interview with other Hailey city department heads who interface daily with the fire chief, and hold private interviews with Mayor Fritz Haemmerle.
Tony Evans:

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