MOBILE, AL (WKRG) — Mobile Fire-Rescue’s long and controversial tenure without a Fire Chief appears to be nearing its end.
In a press release Monday, Mayor Sandy Stimpson announced the five finalists for Chief of Mobile Fire-Rescue. The final candidates are District Chief Doug Cooper, District Chief Jeremy Lami, Deputy Chief Ken Keller, Deputy Chief Myron King and District Chief Paul Sealy.
As News 5 has noted in several newscasts over the past few weeks, Mobile is on Day 1,277 (three years, six months exactly) without an official Fire Chief.
SLIDESHOW: Final Candidates for Mobile Fire Chief
SLIDESHOW: Final Candidates for Mobile Fire Chief x
“I’m encouraged to see this process moving forward,” said Mayor Stimpson. “I firmly believe this decision will set us on the path to becoming the best fire-rescue department in America.”
In recent months, firefighters in Mobile have been more vocal about their desire for leadership and improved organization. On Sunday, the Mobile Chapter of the International Association of Firefighters tweeted, “17 companies riding short staffed and district 4 chief out of service. Take our safety seriously and hire more firefighters!!!!!”
According to the Mayor’s Office, The search was narrowed down from 13 candidates to five after each applicant submitted a strategic plan and endured individual assessments. The selection committee, led by Public Safety Director James Barber, will begin in depth interviews this week and is scheduled to complete its review in the next two weeks.
Once completed, the committee will submit a recommendation to Mayor Stimpson who will make the final decision. By statute, the mayor’s appointment of a new fire chief must be confirmed by the Mobile City Council.
“I am impressed with the caliber and potential of all the candidates who participated in this process,” said Barber. “This is a testament to the quality of the men and women in MFRD. I am confident there is a leader among these finalists who will implement our vision to become the safest City in America.”