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After a two-month application process, the 16-member citizens’ committee tasked with recruiting a new Sedona fire chief has narrowed the candidates down to seven.

The seven candidates are scheduled to come to Sedona from California, Florida, Michigan and Washington on Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 11 and 12, for a two-day assessment.

The assessment will include a role-play scenario, staff meeting, a budget exercise, a presentation, a media response scenario, an oral board and a meet and greet with the public.

The Sedona Fire District Governing Board — which makes the ultimate decision — will hopefully narrow it down to three or fewer candidates by Thursday evening, SFD Human Resource Manager Mandi Garfield said. Those last candidates will undergo a psychological evaluation in Phoenix on Friday,

Feb. 13.

The psychological evaluation costs $350 per

candidate.

The district saved roughly $50,000 by forming a citizens’ committee to weed through applications instead of hiring a professional recruiting firm, Business Director Karen Daines said at the board’s meeting Jan. 28.

That’s good, board member Charles Christensen said Jan. 28, but he’d be happier if the person hired to run the two-day assessment center was local too.

Currently, SFD has lined up a consultant from Human Resource Strategies in Tucson for $6,500 to run the assessment center. Human Resource Strategies has worked with SFD in the past, Garfield said, and has experience working with districts.

Board Chairman Don Harr wondered if fire chiefs he, Christensen and board member Ralph Graves met at a Laughlin, Nev., conference could still apply.

“The word got around the conference from some chiefs that they didn’t know we were looking for a chief,” Harr said.

“They didn’t know because they’re not looking for a job,” compared to the “professional job hunters” who have applied at SFD, he said.

“Three candidates came to us at that conference and said ‘Is the process closed?’ They said we spurred their interest.”

After extending the

deadline twice, it is too late to reopen the process, Garfield said.

Two of the candidates are retired from chief or deputy chief positions and the remaining five are all

chiefs or second-in-command, she said.

The district will pay for each of the seven candidates’ transportation and two-day stay in Sedona, Daines said, which she expects to be $1,000 per candidate.

The money is not in the budget, but it can come from the $10,000 to $15,000 the district is saving a month from the fire chief vacancy, she said.

The offered salary ranges from $97,562 to $130,743, and the selected candidate is required to live within the district boundaries within six months.

Garfield hopes to have a new chief on board by May or June, she said.

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