Waukesha fire chief search down to four finalists

Published on: 3/28/2013

Two of the four finalists for the City of Waukesha’s fire chief search are from within the department, Human Resources Manager Donna Whalen said Thursday.

The finalists are Waukesha Assistant Fire Chief Jesse Alba, Waukesha’s Battalion Chief Joseph Hoffman, City of Kenosha Fire Department Battalion Chief Matthew Haerter and David Litton, fire chief in the Village of Bolingbrook, Ill.

Whalen said final interviews are tentatively set for the week of April 8. The Police and Fire Commission has meetings April 8 and 10.

The PFC narrowed its list to four on Monday after first-round interviews with the top six candidates.

Mark Morien, vice president of Voorhees Associates, the Illinois-based search firm working with Waukesha, said there were 48 applicants coming from 19 states when the search began.

Assistant Fire Chief Steve Howard has served as the interim fire chief after former chief Allen LaConte retired more than a year ago.

Since then, the Common Council and the PFC, a group of citizen volunteers, did not see eye-to-eye on how to fund for the search as many aldermen did not want to pay a search firm because they said there are suitable candidates from within the department.

Others, however, said that to remain transparent and to find the best candidate a search firm was needed.

Ultimately, eight months after LaConte retired, a majority of the Common Council approved the funding of a search firm.