The field of 55 candidates vying to become Riverside’s new fire chief has been whittled down to three, and Village Manager Peter Scalera said last week that he will announce the new chief by Aug. 1.
“We narrowed 55 candidates to 10, then narrowed it to five and interviewed those top-five candidates [two weeks ago],” Scalera said. “From the top five we narrowed it to three and had second interviews with those candidates [July 6].”
Scalera said the final three candidates include two candidates from other fire departments – a retired deputy fire commissioner and a current battalion chief – and one in-house candidate. The two outside candidates were not identified.
The in-house candidate also was not identified by Scalera, but that person is longtime Riverside firefighter Capt. Bill Sherman, who has run the day-to-day operations of the department since late February, when former Fire Chief Kevin Mulligan was placed on administrative leave. Mulligan was fired by the village board on April 4.
According to Scalera, members of the village’s executive team, which included the chiefs of every village department save recreation, met with the three finalists on July 6.
“The next step is to get feedback from the department heads who met with the candidates,” said Scalera. “We want someone who can work well with the group and be beneficial to Riverside.”
After getting that feedback, Scalera said he’ll have the three candidates meet with village trustees. While the decision to hire the fire chief is Scalera’s, the village manager said “it’s important to get the involvement of the village board and get their feedback on the candidates.”
Prior to April 4, when the village board fired Mulligan, both the police and fire chiefs were hired and fired by the village board and reported directly to that body. The change ended that reporting structure, making the village manager the direct supervisor of both positions and giving the manager the ability to hire and fire.