Rumford’s fire station (File photo)

RUMFORD — Town Manager Linda-Jean Briggs said Friday that she and other officials are impressed with the five fire chief candidates who were interviewed this month.

Robert “Bob” Chase, promoted to fire chief in August 2009, resigned in December to accept the position of deputy chief with the Auburn Fire Department. He began his new job Jan. 2, but has stayed on part time to do some administrative tasks.

Briggs and Chase, along with Deputy Fire Chief Chris Bryant, Police Chief Stacy Carter and Code Enforcement Officer Richard Coulombe, a former deputy chief, formed the interviewing committee.

Of the 13 applicants for the position, Briggs said seven were invited to be interviewed. One of them withdrew beforehand and one didn’t show up.

One of the five interviewed is from the department.


Briggs said the committee was impressed by the quality of the candidates.

“I was so impressed with the way Bob Chase handled the department that I’d like somebody to take on those characteristics,” she said. “I want somebody who is progressive, who is a demonstrated leader. Someone who is fair-minded,” she said, adding that she believes these candidates fill that bill.

Briggs said committee members scored each candidate on certain criteria and will use that to determine whether to hold a second round of interviews.

“If it were up to me, I’d say that I’m good and we wouldn’t need to go to a second round,” Briggs said. “I want to hear input from the others because I know who I think I’d be able to work with well, but I don’t know the fire piece of it, and we’ve got three folks on (the committee) that are very well in tune with what needs to be done. I defer the final decision based on their input.”

Briggs said she would like to name a new fire chief within the next week and give that person the opportunity to give their notice.

“Bob (Chase) has done everything he said he would do here,” Briggs said. “He needs to be freed up to be down in Auburn.”

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