Fire chief selection due any day

Thirty-one candidates applied to be the new chief of Enumclaw/Fire District 28, four hopefuls were invited to town for interviews Feb. 25 and two finalists returned Monday for further questioning.

The final decision rests with Mayor John Wise.

The position, which is funded through tax assessments paid by property owners in the city of Enumclaw and rural residents within King County Fire Protection District 28, carries of salary range between $90,000 and $110,000 annually. The exact amount will be negotiated with the candidate selected for the job, according to City Administrator Mark Bauer.

Bauer said the salary range was established by examining salaries of fire chiefs in similar-sized departments throughout the region. Some cities pay all their department heads the same salary, but that is not true of Enumclaw.

Both finalists for the local job currently work as battalion chiefs and neither had far to travel for their interviews. They are Parry Boogard of the Valley Regional Fire Authority, which serves Auburn and the smaller communities of Algona and Pacific, and Matthew Cowan, who is employed by Maple Valley Fire and Life Safety, which covers Maple Valley and Covington.

The other semifinals were Tommy Nix, a fire chief from Narana, Ariz., and Martin Fowler, chief of instruction with the Washington State Fire Academy.

On the 25th, the semifinalists met with four panels. One consisted of the Fire Oversight Board, consisting of members of the Enumclaw City Council and District 28 board of commissioners; a second group was made up of fire department personnel, both career firefighters and volunteers; a third group was city department heads; and the final panel brought together community members from groups like the chamber of commerce, the school district and Enumclaw Regional Hospital.

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