CARTHAGE, Mo. — The application deadline for the job of Carthage fire chief closed Friday, but city officials will be addressing some questions about the selection process before they start looking at candidates, according to Tom Short, city administrator.
The city had received 22 resumes as of mid-afternoon on Friday, but Short said he expected more could come in by email before the 5 p.m. deadline.
“We had 34 (applicants) last time; I hope we get that many this time,” he said.
The Carthage Public Services committee on Monday will look at a number of city ordinances that govern department head selection, Short said, with some revisions to be made before the city moves forward.
“There are a handful of (city code) sections that talk about appointment of department heads, and there are some conflicts. We hope to get that straightened out,” he said.
One section calls for the council’s public safety committee, which oversees the police and fire departments, to take applications of candidates to fill vacancies of police and fire chiefs, and to make a hiring recommendation to the mayor.
Short said that did not happen four years ago, when Chris Thompson was selected as fire chief, though council members were on the screening and selection committee.
“Some parts talk about council committees and other parts talk about duties of the mayor, so we intend to get that addressed first,” he said.
The administrator said no deadline had been set in filling the vacancy created by Thompson’s resignation, which was submitted in early September after criticism from members of the public and a no-confidence vote in the fire department.
Issues centered on a complaint made to city officials on Aug. 5. According to a statement to the council, the complaint included 26 pages of text messages and a picture supporting an accusation that Thompson was propositioning a woman while promising her employment. The complaint alleged that Thompson continued to make advances until it escalated to his sending her an explicit photograph via text message.
According to a statement released at the time, members of the fire department met earlier and cast a 14-4 vote of “no confidence” in Thompson’s leadership.
Based on advertisements placed by the city, candidates for the job must have 10 years fire department experience, including four at the rank of lieutenant or higher, a bachelor’s degree in public administration, business administration for fire service. The ad also lists an annual salary of $53,191.
The Carthage Fire Department has 21 fire fighters and one administrative worker. The annual budget is $1.6 million.