SIDNEY — The search is on for a new fire chief for the city of Sidney. Brad Jones, the current chief of the Sidney Department of Fire & Emergency Services, is retiring in October.
The city posted the fire chief position on the city’s website Thursday afternoon, June 10. Jones has not yet set a definitive last day for retirement.
“In October, I’ll have 27 years as a career firefighter, and I’m in my 10th year here in Sidney as the fire chief. I’ve have the pleasure and honor of helping this organization provide first-class service to its citizens. And I’ve done more than enough to prepare the organization for the next moves forward, including the promotions and the training all of the officers, and I just think it’s a good time to hang my helmet up on the wall,” Jones said.
Jones and Sidney City Manager Mark Cundiff have been discussing his retirement and succession planning for the last six months, but he officially informed the city of his intent to retire in April. Cundiff accepted his retirement and notified Sidney City Council shortly thereafter.
“Brad did give us plenty of notice, which was very nice,” Cundiff said. “The process we will be using (to find a new chief) will be exactly the same that was used 10 years ago when Brad was hired, and the same process we went through when (Police Chief) Will Balling was promoted. The chiefs’ positions of both police and fire are the only two within those two organizations that we don’t have to hire from within. There was a charter change back in the ’90s that allowed outside candidates to be considered.”
The city of Sidney will advertise for the position, Cundiff said, and then human resources will sort through the applications to find qualified candidates to begin interviews. Those candidates will then be narrowed down to the final candidates, who will go through an assessment center process that will lead to the new fire chief.
The hope, Cundiff said, is for the new fire chief to begin work at the end of the year or in early 2021.
“In (Brad’s) tenure, we got a better ISO (Insurance Services Office) rating, which hopefully translated to lower insurance costs for our residents and businesses; the amount of training our firefighters went through really increased under Brad. And of course, although unsuccessful, he was very much an advocate for that third fire station, which had been identified back in the late ’90s/early 2000s that was something we needed because of the response times,” Cundiff said.
“He was a very good advocate for the fire department and his employees, and I can tell you no one fought harder when it came budget time, but he also always kept it very professional, and I appreciated that,” Cundiff continued.
When asked if the inability to secure funding for a third fire station for the city of Sidney was the reason Jones decided to retire, Jones said he made the decision and gave his notice to the city prior to council discussing the next steps for the fire levy in May.
Jones is currently one year into a doctorate program at the University of Dayton, with two years until he will obtain a doctorate in education. His goal is to teach college education in public administration.
Whoever is hired as the next fire chief will have “big shoes to fill,” Cundiff said.
“(Brad) is very much a professional, and he has been pursuing a post graduate degree, and I think he is ready for his encore career, as I like to call it,” Cundiff said.
“Throughout Sidney’s history, our fire department has been symbolized by teamwork, dedication, adaptability and integrity. That has continued through today,” Mayor Mike Barhorst said. “I’ve known of Chief Jones’ plans to retire for some time, and certainly I’ll miss his dedication and consistent efforts to improve the department. All the while, I recognize that the only constant in life is change, and while I will miss him, certainly know that he leaves behind a well-trained and well-managed staff.”
According to the city of Sidney’s website’s job posting, the fire chief is the chief fire official in the city, responsible for planning and directing the activities of the Department of Fire & Emergency Services. The chief ensures employees of the department properly and productively suppress fires, offer emergency medical services, respond to natural and man-made disasters, and educate the public and inspect properties to prevent fires from occurring.
The salary range is $78,222.27 to $102,469.65 annually for the job.
A full description of the scope of the fire chief’s job can be found at https://www.sidneyoh.com/Jobs.aspx
“Sidney is seeking a chief who can carry on the department’s proud tradition, all the while recognizing that growth and change are constant. I look forward to that process, and know that the individual selected will step into a position that will offer both tremendous challenges and rewards,” Barhorst said.
Candidates may apply until 5 p.m. on Aug. 5, 2020.
Those interested are encouraged to visit city’s website to review the job description, benefits and application. Applications should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to 937-498-8160 or mail to 201 W. Poplar St., Sidney, OH 45365.
For answers to questions about the position, contact Human Resources Manager Vickie Allen at 937-498-8144 or email@example.com.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.