The search for Conway’s next fire chief is down to four candidates, including two Conway Fire Department members.
Mark Jones, station 5 battalion chief, and Mike Winter, assistant fire chief, along with Joseph Gorman, of Texas City, Texas, and Jerome Gaines, of Fort Wayne, Ind., have been named final candidates for the position.
Human Resources director Lisa Mabry-Williams said in September, the city received 27 applicants for the position.
The city announced plans Wednesday to hold four public "meet and greet" receptions, hosted by the Conway Chamber of Commerce, to allow the public time to meet the candidates. All four receptions will be held at the Chamber of Commerce building from 5-6 p.m. Following the reception, the search committee will meet with the candidate at 6:30 p.m. in the City Hall conference room.
The first candidate to meet the public and search committee will be Gorman on Monday. Following, is Gaines on Jan. 21, Jones on Jan. 23, and Winter on Jan. 27.
It’s been more than six months since Bart Castleberry announced his retirement in a June 24 letter to Mayor Tab Townsell, and just less than six months since Castleberry’s retirement became effective July 12.
In July, Townsell told the Log Cabin Democrat the search for Castleberry’s successor would take a "number of months."
"It’s going to take some time to go through the process," Townsell said. "It’s a big enough position that I think we should slow down, take our time and do it right. [Castleberry] lasted 20 years, but his impact is going to last much longer."
Brian Moix, the department’s current training division chief, was named interim chief in July, by Townsell, while the search for a permanent replacement commenced.
Castleberry told the Log Cabin Democrat in June that he had the "utmost confidence" in the department he was leaving behind.
"It’s just time to let some younger folks with brighter minds and brighter ideas step up," Castleberry said.
Castleberry said he would not give input on his successor, but hoped the position would go to someone within the department.
"That decision is with the mayor," he said. "He knows we have gifted, talented and knowledgeable people here."
While the nine-person search committee will advise Townsell on candidates, the final decision rests with the mayor.
(Staff writer Lee Hogan can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 505-1246. Follow Lee Hogan on Twitter at twitter.com/LCD_LeeHogan. To comment on this and other stories, log on to thecabin.net.)