Trio vying for two fire department commander posts

Published 9:56 am Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Austin Fire Department is well on its way to having three commanders.

Full-time firefighters Tom Schulte, Terry Peterson and Troy Tigner are vying for two open commander slots; Brian Lovik currently holds one of the commander positions.

The Fire Civil Service Commission met Wednesday afternoon to discuss the three candidates. The commission voted unanimously to certify the candidates, and now it’s up to Fire Chief Mickey Healey to choose which two are best suited for the job.

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“I’m very pleased to get rank and structure back into the department,” Healey said after the meeting. “It will help us progress. For safety and performance, I think it will be a great change.”

Healey previously said communication, teamwork and efficiency would increase if he had three commanders as opposed to one. When a shift doesn’t have a supervisor, it can lead to confusion at emergency scenes and a slower response time, he said. Also, miscommunication would be less likely if Healey had one person from each shift reporting to him, he said.

Healey must recommend the promotion of two of the three candidates by Monday, when the Austin City Council is scheduled to vote on the command structure change.