Aurora firefighters are “?” about how their new boss is getting picked

Aurora Fire Fighters Protective Association felt the 270 firefighters and other members it represents were blindsided with the news the city had narrowed down its search to two candidates.

staff photo
(Aurora Fire Rescue)

(Aurora Fire Rescue)

The organization tasked with being the voice of Aurora firefighters was less than thrilled last week after learning the city is close to naming a new fire chief.

Aurora Fire Fighters Protective Association felt the 270 firefighters and other members it represents were blindsided with the news the city had narrowed down its search to two candidates and that the organization was being left out of the selection process. Aurora officials claim that’s not the case and plan to allow firefighters to weigh in this week.

On Thursday, city officials put out a news release saying they were deciding between the assistant chiefs of Dallas and Seattle to fill the vacant fire chief position. But the Aurora Fire Fighters Protective Association either missed the news or wasn’t told directly.

“As you might have guessed we are swamped trying to play catch-up on fact-finding regarding the two fire chief finalists,” firefighter Dave Hamam told Denverite on Friday.

“We are also working diligently to find why Deputy City Manager Michelle Wolfe would not be interested in our opinion of the finalists and why she won’t return our messages. It was disheartening to learn of her decision on Twitter, to say the least.”

Wolfe said the city has no intention of leaving firefighters out of the decision making.

“It has been our desire and intent from the very beginning to create a robust process that is inclusive because we do value our employees,” she said in an email.  “We led this effort by meeting at fire stations and with many firefighters when the recruitment effort began, to gain input and feedback on qualities that were important in the new chief.”

The city also published a survey and asked for input that was used in recruitment materials for the job search, provided regular email updates on the status of recruitment, invited firefighters to have seats during panel interviews and scheduled a meet-and-greet with the candidates that’s set for Tuesday morning, according to Wolfe.

“Upon conclusion of the activities on Monday and Tuesday, we will evaluate and review the results of the interviews and meet-and-greet session feedback forms,” Wolfe said. “A background investigation will need to be completed before a final offer can be made to a candidate.”

Business & data reporter Adrian D. Garcia can be reached via email at agarcia@denverite.com or twitter.com/adriandgarcia.

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