Sunrise Beach Fire Protection District officials continued the process of narrowing down candidates for a new assistant chief Wednesday with an assessment center set up at the administration building to evaluate three candidates selected from a pool of more than 20.
The job candidates participated in three exercises while outside evaluators from Columbia, Jefferson City and Joplin fire departments reviewed their work in scenarios that covered command of a fire scene, communicating with the community and personnel management. Their performances were judged on a one to five scale on command presence, decisiveness, oral communications, problem analysis and stress tolerance.
The candidates were each given 15 minutes to review a briefing on each scenario that featured potential real world situations before engaging in the exercises.
Role players heightened the reality of scenarios. As an evaluator looked on, volunteers from area homeowners associations asked questions during a fake public hearing while fire department personnel interacted with the candidate by radio while the candidate directed operations for a commercial structure fire scenario projected on the wall.
"There's no perfect way. You never really know until you hire someone, but this gives us a chance to see how they perform under stress," said Sunrise Beach Fire Chief Dennis Reilly. "We're trying to move the district forward, and we're looking for a rock solid candidate who can come in and operate as assistant chief from day one."
The assistant chief runs from the operations division of the department, overseeing emergency responses and training as well as being second in command to the chief. Currently, Reilly is overseeing daily operations in addition to the duties of chief.
An assistant chief will allow him to spend more time working on long term planning, budgeting and community involvement.
"We want to provide a high level of service, and we really need to drill down to make sure we're maintaining a constant high level of efficient service," Reilly said.
The candidates were scheduled for more traditional interviews and to meet fire department members on Thursday.
All three candidates are from departments outside the lake area. Two are from Missouri and one is from Arkansas.