Council mulls next step in finding new fire chief

Published 7:11 am Monday, January 18, 2010

City council is set to decide on Tuesday whether they want to allocate up to $10,000 for finding an interim fire chief.

Currently, fire department commander Brian Lovik is filling in for former chief Dan Wilson, who retired Dec. 31. City officials want an interim chief to take over for Lovik by the end of the month.

City administrator Jim Hurm said if the funding allocation is approved, the city will go one of two ways. They could put money toward an outside consulting firm that would help fill the position. Or, the city could work on filling the position itself.

Hurm said not all $10,000 would have to be spent and added that the costs of finding an interim are comparable to staffing a full-time chief for a month.

But even if the funding is approved Tuesday, the city still has a long way to go in finding an interim chief, Hurm said. No potential consulting firms have been contacted and no candidates have been identified, although Hurm said the city wants to move quickly on the process.

When an interim is in place, he or she will be able to work for no more than 30 days, per state statute. If the time runs out, the city may have Lovik fill in again.

City officials have said they’d like a new full-time chief in place by March.