Fire and police finalists named

New leadership will soon be in place for the city fire and police departments.

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WALLA WALLA -- City officials announced the six finalists for the current fire chief vacancy and the soon-to-be-open police chief position.

On Monday night the Walla Walla Civil Service Commission named three finalists for each position.

What follows this week is a series of meetings, tours and interviews, including a chance for the candidates to meet police and fire personnel, as well as take part in a community meet-and-greet on Thursday night, Human Resource Manager Jennifer Seekamp said.

The three candidates for police chief are Scott Bieber, a commander with the Vancouver, Wash., Police Department; Robert Torgerson, Aberdeen, Wash., police chief; and Greg Anderson, a police captain with Salt River Police Department, which serves the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community in Arizona.

The three candidates for fire chief are Ron Anderson, Meridian, Idaho, fire chief; Greg Godfrey, a battalion chief with the Glendale, Calif., Fire Department; and current Walla Walla Fire Department interim Chief Bob Yancey.

On Wednesday the candidates will tour the city and meet the fire and police personnel they might one day manage.

Then on Thursday, the candidates will interview separately with the city manager and a community review panel.

Thursday from 6-7:30 p.m., a public meet-and-greet will be held at the Marcus Whitman Hotel & Conference Center's Renaissance Room, 6 W. Rose St.

On Friday the candidates will interview again with the city manager and the community panel.

"We feel that we have very strong candidates for each of the positions and we feel this has been a very thorough search ... We are hoping to make some contingent job offers very shortly after this week," Seekamp said.

Comments from the public can also be emailed to jseekamp@ci.walla-walla.wa.us or called in to Seekamp at 524 4319.

"(City Manager) Nabiel (Shawa) and I were very interested in making sure the community had an opportunity to provide insight and to meet who would be leading both of these departments because the positions are very important to this community," Seekamp said.

She also noted the entire hiring process is expected to come out under budget.

In September, the City Council approved a $48,000 contract with a recruiting firm.

In the weeks after, the city received 67 applicants for fire chief and 70 for police chief. Police Chief Chuck Fulton will retire in March.

Alfred Diaz can be reached at alfreddiaz@wwub.com or 526-8325.

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