Largo City Manager Turns Down All Applicants for Fire Chief
By ANNE LINDBERG, TB Reporter
The city will re-advertise the position and start the search over again.
LARGO – After a national search, Largo still has no fire chief.
City Manager Henry Schubert announced his decision today (June 12) in a memo. Schubert’s decision comes four days after three finalists were interviewed for the position.
“All three had the qualifications to perform the job. The interview process did not result in a clear choice for the position,” Schubert wrote in a memo explaining his decision. “After conducting additional research on the candidates and giving the decision much thought, I have decided to not make a selection from the current candidate pool. We will begin a second recruitment process this month. While this is a disappointing result, it is neither unusual nor without precedent. I am committed to making the best possible choice for our next Fire Chief.”
While the search is ongoing, Largo Deputy Fire Chief Joseph Pennino will continue to serve as interim chief. Pennino was one of the three finalists for the chief’s job.
“I am confident in his ability to continue providing leadership to the Department during this period,” Schubert wrote.
The chief’s job came open March 9 with the departure of Chief Shelby Willis who resigned to take a job in Utah. Willis’ departure kicked off a national search for a new chief.
Of the 60 job applicants, 14 met the advertised minimum qualifications. Five were chosen to interview. Two of those dropped out, leaving three who spent last Thursday (June 7) and Friday (June 8), touring the city’s fire stations; attending a meet and greet with members of the Largo City Commission, city staff and the public; and undergoing three interviews. Those interviews were conducted by teams representing executive leadership (city manager, assistant city manager, human resources director, and executive recruiter), fire department management (district, assistant, and division chiefs), and a group consisting of firefighter emergency medical technicians and paramedics, and lieutenants who were chosen by management and the union.
“While I as the city manager have the charter responsibility to hire department directors, I value a diversity of input to ensure that I make the best possible selection,” Schubert wrote in his memo.
“The fire chief has many roles, including not just leadership of the Fire Rescue Department, but also as a member of the city’s executive leadership team and the representative of the department in interactions with the city commission, other fire professionals within Pinellas County, and the public. It is particularly vital that the chief have the respect and support of our Fire Department personnel.”
Photo courtesy of the city of Largo.
Largo Fire | Largo Fire Chief | Henry Schubert | Joseph Pennino | Tampabay News
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