Hall County officials said they narrowed the search for the new fire chief down to four candidates earlier this week.
County Administrator Jock Connell said they started with a stock of roughly 50 applications to fill the position vacated by former Chief Jeff Hood, who resigned Oct. 31.
When asked to confirm or deny if there were any internal candidates for consideration, Connell said, “I can confirm we have four candidates.”
Former Fire Chief David Kimbrell was relieved of command in August 2014 after a training incident with a ladder truck injured three firefighters. Kimbrell then became Emergency Management Agency director, and Hood took over the position of fire chief.
In October, Kimbrell was fired from his position with the Emergency Management Agency after illicit videos of him with a subordinate within the department were found.
Connell said the candidates have a “strong background in fire and emergency service.”
“They appear to have all the credentials that would qualify them to at least meet the criteria to run a department the size of one that Hall County has,” Connell said.
The county did not release the names of the four candidates.
After receiving the stack of some 50 applicants, Connell said he and senior staff whittled down the list to a dozen or so people. These applicants were then sent a series of questions, and county officials evaluated their responses.
Connell did not provide an example of what type of questions were sent.
“Jock has made himself available since the fall numerous times and told any member of the fire department if they wanted to meet with him one-on-one to provide any type of input or thought about the direction of the department,” county spokeswoman Katie Crumley said.
Connell said they anticipate the interview round will be no less than three hours per candidate.
“I’m not going to tell you that they had to be in a fire chief position right now, but I will tell you this: They had to be far enough up in the ranks that they had a pretty good grasp and pretty broad range of senior management experience, and I think we got that in all of the candidates,” he said.
Connell previously told The Times he hoped to have the position filled by Sept. 1, but he said Tuesday, Aug. 7, that it could be closer to mid-September based on the chosen candidate’s current employment circumstances.