Grand Rapids fire chief candidate forum set for March 29

Published on March 22, 2023


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. –  Those interested in meeting the finalists for Grand Rapids’ next fire chief can do so Wednesday, March 29 at the Fire Chief Candidate Forum. The City and its hired executive search firm, GovHR, will host a 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. question and answer forum in the 9th Floor City Commission Chambers in City Hall, 300 Monroe Ave. NW.  It will also be cablecast on Comcast Channel 26 and streamed live on the City’s Facebook and YouTube channels.

The candidates’ names and professional background information are available HERE.

During the forum, the candidates will provide brief remarks and answer questions provided from the community. Those questions may be asked in-person at the event, via the livestream chat on Facebook, or submitted in advance by completing the
Grand Rapids Community Forum Electronic Question Form by 5 p.m. Monday, March 27. Those without internet access can submit their questions in advance via 311 or 616-456-3000. Spanish-language interpretation services will be provided during the forum.

“While it is ultimately my responsibility to hire a fire chief, residents will continue to have a voice in the process of selecting our next chief,” City Manager Mark Washington said. “Public safety and resident engagement is essential for a thriving community, and the next fire chief will be fundamentally responsible for carrying out the vision articulated in the City's and department’s strategic plans.”

Once the public has a chance to watch and listen to what the fire chief candidates have to say at the forum, Washington wants to know what they think of each candidate via a web survey. The survey will go live following the forum and be available for comment through 5 p.m. Friday, March 31. Those without internet access will be able to participate in the survey via 311 or 616-456-3000.

The nationwide recruitment for Grand Rapids’ next fire chief began in January following Fire Chief John Lehman’s retirement announcement. Input from community stakeholders informed the final recruitment profile. Following the March 1 application deadline, GovHR screened individuals who best matched the profile and desired characteristics articulated by the community.

 “The City of Grand Rapids has one of the finest fire departments in the country and Chief Lehman’s leadership has been very instrumental in getting us to this point,” Washington said. “This community is looking for someone to continue elevating the quality of life for residents through excellent fire prevention and response services.”

GovHR worked with Washington to further examine the candidates that would advance and appear at the forum.


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