Fire chief search is down to three

CITY HALL — The Glendale city manager's office is currently reviewing three finalists to become Glendale's next fire chief, the last stage before a candidate goes before the council for approval.

City officials are not releasing the names of the three candidates, nor will they disclose whether they came from inside or outside the Glendale Fire Department, Human Resources Director Matt Doyle said.

But the Human Resources Department has completed the requirements of the civil service employment process, which includes an interview with a panel of public safety and city government professionals from outside Glendale, as well as a panel of Glendale city executives, he said.

“The top three candidates names have been forwarded to the city manager,” Doyle said. “He's in the process of interviewing.”

In October, Council members denied a request to authorize a contract to bring on an executive recruitment firm to broaden the candidate pool for Glendale's fire chief, after the majority of the council said it would be more prudent for the city to perform its own search.

Citing the long list of high-level administrators who have been found in and around Glendale, councilmen concurred that a search firm, which typically searches nationwide for a pool of potential candidates, would be a waste of money.

Since Chief Chris Gray retired in August, Don Biggs, who retired as Glendale's assistant fire chief in 2004, took over as interim chief. Biggs took over on Aug. 27, temporarily leaving Warner Bros., where he is the director of emergency services, Glendale Fire Department Capt. Tom Propst said. Biggs plans to return to Warner Bros. once a new chief is installed, Propst said.

Gray left the post after six years and relocated to the San Francisco area.

The Fire Department's top spot carries a regional leadership role, as Glendale runs the Verdugo Dispatch Center — which coordinates communication for several cities — and operates as an important agency in the “Area C” emergency response district, which includes Burbank, Pasadena and parts of the San Gabriel Valley, Doyle said.

The fire chief will earn $14,353 to $17,942 a month, he said.

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