Augusta fire chief interviews begin

 The first of three finalists to be Augusta’s next fire chief will be interviewed Thursday.

David A. Greene, presently the assistant chief in Colleton County, S.C., will meet with Augusta commissioners for a question-and-answer session at 10 a.m. in the commission committee room, 530 Greene St.

The city has been without a permanent fire chief since the September departures of Chief Howard Willis, his two deputy chiefs and his brother, Battalion Chief Tommy Willis, who all agreed under pressure to retire amid city investigations.

Greene is one of three finalists selected from more than 40 applicants for the top fire post. The other two finalists are Interim Fire Chief Chris James, a member of the Augusta force since 1987 and Glenn Jones, the emergency management and safety coordinator in Peoria, Ariz.

Commissioners will interview Jones on Friday and James on Tuesday.

In Colleton County, a rural exurb of Charleston, S.C., Greene serves as assistant director of fire and rescue operations for a force of 75 paid and 260 paid-per-call personnel, the application states. At 1,054 square miles, Colleton County is more than three times as large as Augusta-Richmond County, but has less than a quarter of the population.

Jones develops and reviews emergency plans for the city of Peoria, a Phoenix suburb that has a population of 154,065 and is 141.7 square miles in area, in a position similar to Augusta’s Emergency Management Agency director.

Before that, he worked from 2004 to 2007 as emergency services planner in Maricopa County, Ariz., whose county seat is Phoenix. Jones says he left Maricopa County to “manage my own operation” in Peoria.

Before 2004, Jones was in Georgia, and said in a recent interview he’d like to return. From 1995 to 2004 he was deputy fire chief in Paulding County and, from 1990 to 1995, he was an Alpharetta firefighter and emergency medical technician.

James has said he’s made strides in changing policy and culture since the departure of four of the department’s ranking officers, and City Administrator Fred Russell has said James has handled the challenges well. The department has a budget of $22 million.

James located in Augusta by way of being stationed at Fort Gordon and joined the Augusta Fire Department in 1987.

The candidates requested different salary amounts on their job applications, with Jones asking for $78,000, Greene seeking $100,000 and James requesting $110,000.

3 Augusta fire chief candidates named
The year in review: Augusta fire department still recovering from rocky year
Augusta narrowing options for new fire chief
Augusta Fire Department making organizational changes, looking for new chief
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Follow the interviews of the fire chief candidates by following Susan McCord on Twitter at @reportr1.

David A. Greene's application
Chris James' application
Glenn Jones' application

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