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City Announces Four Finalists for Fire Chief

City Announces Four Finalists for Fire Chief
Posted on 12/22/2022
Graphic of ambulance and firetruck in front of silhouetted Aurora buildings

A community panel, city management, and a recruiting firm hired to conduct a national search for Aurora’s next fire chief have identified four finalists for the position, and they are seeking community feedback ahead of the final selection.

The finalists are Richard Davis, Assistant Chief of the Austin, Texas, Fire Department; Alec Oughton, Fire Chief of the Henrico County, Va., Division of Fire; Allen Robnett, Interim Fire Chief of Aurora Fire Rescue; and Froilan “Pepper” Valdez, Fire Chief of the Billings, Mont., Fire Department.

The city hired CPS HR Consulting, a firm specializing in the recruitment and selection of executive-level professionals in city, county, state, special district, and nonprofit agencies, to conduct the search with a focus on recruiting a diverse pool of applicants.

Thirty-six individuals applied for the position. The city management team and CPS HR provided a confidential list of the applicants to a diverse, well-established, broad cross-section of nine community leaders, whose information is detailed on, for review. The panel subsequently identified nine semi-finalists. A city management panel, composed of City Manager Jim Twombly, Deputy City Managers Jason Batchelor, Laura Perry and Roberto Venegas, Fleet Manager Ron Forrest of Aurora Public Works, and Litigation Manager Isabelle Evans of the Aurora City Attorney’s Office, conducted semi-finalist interviews to narrow the pool of candidates to the four named finalists.

The finalists are engaging in a two-day, in-person finalist selection process. On Thursday, Jan. 5, they toured Aurora Fire Rescue facilities and met with sworn and civilian AFR employees, spoke with council members one-on-one, and engaged in taped interviews conducted by two or three community panel members or their designees. Later that day, the city hosted a public, in-person meet-and-greet event in the lobby of the Aurora Municipal Center for community members to freely interact with the finalists.

The recorded interviews with the finalists are available for viewing on the city's YouTube channel.

Community members are able to provide feedback on the finalists via Engage Aurora.

On Friday, Jan. 6, the finalists are meeting with additional council members one-on-one, the mayor, the community panel members, the city’s executive team, and city department directors.

Aurora’s city charter requires the city manager to hire a fire chief and receive approval from the majority of the Aurora City Council. A hiring selection is expected by the end of January or early February following the community feedback opportunities, a rigorous background investigation of the selected finalist, and negotiations.

Provide feedback on the fire chief finalist interviews

WHEN: Beginning on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023

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