COLUMBUS — The Civil Service Commission was forced to redo its interviews with the fire chief candidates, but the end result didn’t change.

Six of the seven candidates went through a second interview Monday and the same three finalists selected in June emerged.

Daniel Miller of Yutan, who is a battalion chief with the Omaha Fire Department and runs his own business, Training Under Fire; Aaron Anderson of Ralston, who is a captain with the Papillion Fire Department and adjunct firefighter and hazardous materials instructor at Southeast Community College; and Joseph Grainger of Fredericksburg, Virginia, who is the assistant fire and EMS chief and chief of operations with the Stafford County Fire and Rescue Department in Virginia, are still the final three candidates for the full-time fire chief position.

Another round of interviews with those three men will be scheduled before Mayor Jim Bulkley submits his choice for the job to the city council for approval.

“We’re comfortable that we’ve made three good selections and we’ve just got to work with them to get them into town so we can talk to them,” Bulkley said Monday night.

The mayor wasn’t able to attend Monday’s interviews with the Civil Service Commission because of scheduling conflicts, but he was present at the June meeting when seven candidates were interviewed.

The second round of interviews was scheduled after a memo containing 13 of the 17 interview questions was sent to six of the candidates, mistakenly leaving one applicant off the list of recipients. All but one of the candidates accepted the invitation to interview again.

Bulkley said there isn’t a definite timeline on when he will present his selection for fire chief to the city council, but it will likely happen in the near future.

“It’s a priority,” he said. “We’ve got to get it done.”

City council members voted in April to create the full-time fire chief position to oversee the department of 15 career firefighters and rescue personnel and 55 volunteers.

Dean Hefti, who has been with the local fire department for 45 years, including 25 as the volunteer fire chief, plans to retire in January.

The city is also in the midst of a search for a new police chief following William Gumm’s retirement. Gumm retired in June after serving as the city’s police chief for 23 years.

About 20 people applied for the police chief opening, according to Columbus Human Resources Director Mike Oglevie, who expects around 10 of those applicants to take the civil service exam on Aug. 4.

The highest-scoring candidates will then be interviewed by the Civil Service Commission before the list is narrowed again using the same process as the fire chief search.



Tyler Ellyson is editor of The Columbus Telegram.

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