City fire chief finalist for new job

Meranda Watling

Kent Fire Chief Jim Williams has been named one of 10 finalists for the fire chief position in Delaware.

Delaware, located in Central Ohio north of Columbus, is among the fastest growing communities not only in Ohio, but in the nation. According to the U.S. Census, Delaware County was listed as the 12th-fastest growing county in the country between April 2000 and July 2005.

In the 2000 U.S. Census, the city of Delaware’s population increased 24.7 percent. In the same period, Kent’s population declined 3.3 percent.

The growing nature of the area is exactly what attracted Williams to apply for the position, he said.

“It’s an opportunity in a growing community,” Williams said. “The department’s a little larger than ours … but it’s a pretty similar department.”

The fact that it was in Ohio also impacted his decision to apply because he said he’d like to stay in the pension system here.

Williams, who has been at the Kent Fire Department for 27 years and has served as chief since 1995, said it’s fairly common for employees to look at jobs and send out resumes. He said he’s also applied for a few other positions, but he’s been selective in choosing which ones.

“I look at (Delaware) as an opportunity,” he said. “It doesn’t mean I’m going to leave.”

The Delaware fire chief position was first advertised in mid-February, said Jessica Feller, the city’s human resource specialist. Current Fire Chief Tom Macklin announced plans to retire in August. The original plan called for the department to accept applications through late March, but because fewer than 20 applications were received, the deadline was extended.

Currently, the department has received 36 applications for the position. Of those, they have narrowed down the list to 10 finalists.

“We narrowed the list with the help of consulting firms and met with the city manager, who is the only person who can hire someone,” Feller said.

The city will begin interviews with the finalists next week, she said. They hope to make a final decision in early June.

Contact public affairs reporter Meranda Watling at [email protected]