City of Wilmington looking for next fire chief

The city of Wilmington is looking for its next fire chief. City council will meet in closed session tonight to decide which candidates to interview for the job. Fire Chief Sam Hill retired in March, after serving Wilmington for more than 50 years. The council will reveal its top candidates for the job after this evening's session, and will conduct interviews tomorrow morning, beginning at 8:30.

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I have to agree with the "cheat im"person I to went to one of the meetings.It was of my opinion that was a meeting for the public to voice their concerns.All I saw was the same ones Association members you see on tv everytime from the association that wants to gripe and complain about everything.I thought they already had their meeting to discuss their recommendations for a new chief.But no they have to be at the public one also to make sure they get their two cents in so maybe some of the public see who is making these statements. Maybe they will hire from with in and Chief Blackley will carry this department to the next level.Whatever they do there will still be the same association members griping and complaining about something.
I hope for the sake of the Fire Department that the Council is taking a look at some outside persons to come and take the helm of the department. It needs some new direction and ideas to move ahead in the years to come. While this is nothing against those from inside who may have applied, there is time and need for a change and now is the time to take that action.
After going to one of the meetings the company that was looking to hire the new Fire Chief for the city of Wilmington. It was a big waste of our tax payers money.Another one of those "Cheat im" studies. What some of the city firefighters want is a professor for a fire chief.All those degrees don't put out fires and run a department.We have people in the Wilmington Fire department that are very capable of running that department, but a few of the association members don't think they so. Ask the association members why they are losing members,because a few are making them all look like fools. If my house catches on fire I had much rather have someone that has been through the ranks than someone that has been to college all their lives.
Obviously the need for a chief with some education has come to light. In the fire service today, many administrators have higher levels of education from either the National Fire Academy or one of the degree programs specializing in fire service administration. There are many personnel in the fire service who have worked the "job" for many years and still have degrees because they the desire and drive to get educated to do the job of running a fire department. To say that it does not take some education to run a fire department is not showing forward thinking and wanting your fire department to be progressive. Be open to change!!! Resistance to change has done more harm than good to the fire service over the years
I have attended two of the meetings for discussion concerning the new fire chief conducted by the Water's Group. I cannot say it has been a waste of taxpayer money... yet. City management has not yet made a ridiculous implementation adverse to the company's recommendations, if they will even adhere to their input, as they have done so many times in the past. In neither of those meetings did I hear a firefighter say that they wanted a professor for their new Chief. Moreover, several of the citizens of Wilmington in attendance expressed their interests in the new Chief having a solid educational background as well. General consensus was the new Chief shall have a Bachelor's degree with preference given to a Master's degree WITH experience in the fire service including supervisory experience. True a degree will not put out a fire, but skills and abilities learned while attaining that degree will enhance their abilities in future leadership roles. As for the Association... Did not they conduct an assessment prior to the Water's Group assessment? And were there not striking similarities in both assessments? It sounds to me that the Association has some intelligent individuals in it. As far as promoting from within... Sure there may be someone capable of doing the job, but dare I continue? Let us look at Charleston, SC. Their firefighters were complaining prior to June 18 of similar circumstances. Their Chief had been promoted from within. They were an ISO Class 1 department. They brought up issues in training, promotions, equipment, things similar to that of which the WFD are bringing up. Sadly no one listened and nine firefighters lost their lives. The final reports came back citing the department was "undermanned", "ill-equipped", and "not adequately trained" to handle the fire that befell them last year. The Chief submitted his resignation shortly after the reports became public. The Chief is ultimately responsible in making sure that their department is staffed, equipped, and trained to handle emergencies now and in the future. We cannot be complaisant with what we have. We need an educated individual that is a forward thinker who will dedicate themselves to bettering the department and the services it provides to the city.
No Cheat im Waste, what firefighters want is a fresh set of eyes on the department to bring them into the next century. The city has stepped into the next century with all other depatments heads in terms of education and experience, why would YOU not want the same for the firefighters? Maybe you work there and think you have something to gain or lose by an outsider coming in. What makes you think an educated firefighter is an less of a hard charger. Maybe a little education would not hurt you. Don't hide behind the rank and file and use the as a vehicle to voice your opinion and carry your cause. They have done that already time and time again and got no results from it. If you don't believe that statement just read the assesment or ask any firefighter.
Its good that council went outside for possible canidates. However I hope they take a good look at Chief Blackley the interim Chief. He is a very good man with a good head on his shoulders. He has done an excellent job in the interim position. He deserves it. Don't let Cheat-um have anything to do with it. Whatever he touches turns to crap. Just like the pay study. Maybe council with give him the same thing Al got.
Has Frank Blackley been with the Wilmington Fire Dept. his whole career? What kind of educational background does he have? Will he have the support of the firefighters? Maybe he could be the candidate promoted from within that is capable of leading the department in the direction that it needs to go. I agree that Sterling's performance has been less than desirable since he has been here. The funny thing is that when it comes to pay raise time, he always gets a healthy one while so many other city employees who deserve it do not.
It just goes to say, there needs to be some change. The Fire Chief is the administrator for the department and if Frank is qualified with the proper education, then so be it but serving has interim is NOTHING like running a fire department and the department needs someone who can run it towards the future.
Okay JS, I am a little confused by what you mean. You said, "serving has (as) interim is NOTHING like running a fire department". What do you mean? Do fires burn different for an interim fire chief? Does not the interim chief oversee day-to-day operations like a regular chief would? Would not he still have to ensure firefighters are maintaining their training? Adequate staffing levels? Discipline? Order? I guess if we have a big incident that the department has a tough time handling we could just say "If we had a chief instead of just an interim this would have never happened". I'm not seeing where you are coming from JS.
Bringing in someone new has its advantages also. But it also has some disadvantages. I'm sure there are men in the WFD who have aspirations of becoming fire chief one day. Someone who made it a point to get degrees and other schooling and works hard throughout there career. Its like a slap in the face to bring someone from another city or another state for that matter as a chief. Its just an observation.