Sylacauga council interviews 3 for fire chief, decision expected Feb. 20

Sylacauga's city administration

Sylacauga's new city administration was sworn in Nov. 7, 2016. City Judge Barry Vaughn administered the oath of office to Mayor Jim Heigl; District 1 council representative Ashton Fowler; District 2 representative Tiffany Nix; District 3 representative Donnie Blackmon; District 4 representative Lee Perryman; and District 5 representative Dallas Davenport.

SYLACAUGA -- The Sylacauga City Council conducted interviews with three candidates for the position of fire chief Monday, following the retirement of former Chief Adam Gardner on Jan 31.  

The three candidates interviewed were Jared Cunningham, Nathan Osgood and Don Blair.

“The interviews went really well,” Sylacauga Mayor Jim Heigl said. “All of the candidates are highly qualified and have multiple years of experience in the department.”

Cunningham was named interim chief during the City Council’s Feb. 4. meeting, Heigl added.

Cunningham is a native of Sylacauga.

“He’s been with the department for about 19-1/2 years,” Sylacauga Human Resources Director Jayne McGee said. “He has been a lieutenant for two years and five months.”

Osgood is a native of Eclectic, McGee said. 

He has been with the department for about 7-½ years and has served as a lieutenant for almost two.

McGee noted Osgood is pursuing his degree in fire administration. 

Blair, also from Sylacauga, is the third candidate up for consideration.

According to McGee, Blair has been with the department on and off for almost 20 years. He has a degree in nursing and worked at Coosa Valley Medical Center before returning to the department in 2018.

McGee added Blair is also a lieutenant within the department. 

McGee said the applicants were first reviewed and submitted to the council by the Sylacauga Civil Service Board, which consists of three members: Bill Hamilton, chairman; Bob Green; and Wayne Murchinson. 

“This ensures that we hire the most qualified person possible for the job,” McGee said.

McGee said the applicants then took a fire chief test, administered by the CSB. 

“Three of the five tested (and) received a passing score of at least 70,” McGee said. 

Cunningham, Osgood and Blair were then recommended by the CSB to the council for interviews.

The council asked the candidates the same set of questions, separately, on a variety of topics, such as department morale, budgeting and more, McGee noted.

Heigl added the council is expected to vote on a new chief during the next council meeting Thursday, Feb. 20. A work session will be at 5 p.m. The meeting will follow. 

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