Pa. town hires consultant to help find first full-time fire chief

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By Evamarie Socha
The Daily Item, Sunbury

LEWISBURG, Pa. — The William Cameron Engine Company will pay a State College consulting firm more than $12,000 to help the Lewisburg fire house find its first paid chief after its first national search to fill the job ended without a new leader.

The fire company's board voted this month to hire Peter Marshall & Associates for $12,400 in consulting fees, which includes reviewing the work William Cameron has done so far, board chairman Vaughn Murray said Friday.

Marshall is the former interim manager of East Buffalo Township, a position he held for several months overseeing the municipality's daily operations. Among tasks his firm will do is examine the job description for accuracy and refining it to be sure William Cameron is meeting its needs, Murray said.

"The biggest thing is making sure ads are placed in appropriate places and developing them to make sure we're attracting the best pool of candidates," Murray said.

A five-month national search for William Cameron's first fully paid chief fizzled after the leading candidate withdrew his name from consideration.

Marshall's firm also will solicit applications, review them and do initial candidate screening. It will again be a national search, although Murray said they will use more job-hiring resources.

The job itself is "really all encompassing," Murray said. "We need someone who truly is leading and managing the fire department, which includes operational aspects like taking command at scenes but also municipal relations with other departments; recommending policy and implementing it; supervising everyone, both volunteers and paid staff."

Murray did not disclose the salary range as it's still being decided, he said, but the candidate's experience will be among main factors. Marshall's firm also will weigh in on that decision.

Marshall's team and the fire board will meet the first week of August to get started, but there is no deadline for having a full-time chief in place, Murray said.

"It happens when it happens, but we would like it to happen sooner rather than later. We won't rush, though, we want to make sure it's a thought-out decision."

Hiring a full-time fire chief at William Cameron was among recommendations of consulting group Emergency Services Alliance Group, based at Harrisburg Area Community College. The study advised William Cameron what it needed to do to prepare for the future in terms of being a hybrid fire department.

William Cameron has paid and volunteer firefighters. The paid volunteers formed a union in 2012.

William Cameron has operated without a full-time chief since Rick Sheesley resigned in February.

Steve Bolinsky is William Cameron's volunteer fire chief and is overseeing operations for now, and four platoon sergeants are heading their own crews.

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(c)2014 The Daily Item (Sunbury, Pa.)

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