Camas begins search for new fire chief

Application deadline is March 31

The City of Camas has embarked on the search for its next fire chief.

Advertising for the job, which pays $97,000 to $120,000 per year — plus benefits, began last week.

Following the closing of the application period on March 31, the top candidates will be brought in to participate in panel interviews, listen to department head presentations, and attend a social event with members of the City Council and a community reception in late April or early May.

According to City Administrator Lloyd Halverson, the goal is to make an offer of employment to one individual toward the end of May. The new chief would ideally start in June or early July.

“We want to be deliberate,” Halverson said. “We want to move [the process] right along.”

According to the job description, the ideal candidate would “have a fresh perspective on fire and EMS service trends and tactics in running a fire/EMS department and will be familiar with the challenges in both arenas. The chief will be eager to look for new opportunities to create positive changes in the structure and management of the department.”

The document also states that among the new chief’s priorities will be the “creation and implementation of a new strategic plan,” “consideration of partnerships with other jurisdictions to create consolidated fire services,” “stabilization of the current EMS budget,” and “work to understand the current organization, operations, culture and structure to implement changes and new delivery methods that enhance efficiency within current budgetary constraints.”

The CFD operates with a staff of 41 firefighters and paramedics who provide emergency medical services to residents within 104 square miles in the cities of Camas and Washougal, and unincorporated east Clark County.

The city is currently dealing with a serious shortfall in its emergency medical services fund, created by a decrease in assessed property values. The EMS fund receives monies from a voter approved levy.

The previous fire chief, Leo Leon, was fired in January. According to Mayor Paul Dennis, the termination was necessary because Leon’s leadership of the Camas Fire Department “had not been meeting expectations.” Leon, 65, had led the fire department since January 2005.

As a result of his termination, Leon received three months severance pay and health benefits to fulfill the terms of the his employment contract. Leon’s annual salary was $120,192. He also cashed out unused sick leave and vacation time.

Since Jan. 31 Monte Brachmann has been filling-in as the interim chief. He is the city’s former public works director who retired after 37 years in March 2010, and previously served for 25 years as a CFD volunteer firefighter.

Brachmann is considered a temporary employee of the city. He is being paid approximately $9,000 per month — mid-range salary for a fire chief under the city’s step system.

To view the fire chief’s job description and announcement, visit www.ci.camas.wa.us/admin/jobs.htm.

This article can also be found in the March 1 Post-Record print edition.

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