• Davis
  • Oughton
  • Robnett
  • Valdez

AURORA | The City of Aurora this week announced the four finalists being considered to lead Aurora Fire Rescue and is asking for the public’s help to determine what they should look for in a new fire chief.

Allen Robnett, who was raised from deputy chief to interim chief after Fernando Gray left during the summer to take a job in Las Vegas, was named among the finalists along with:

  • Richard Davis, assistant chief of the Austin Fire Department in Texas.
  • Alec Oughton, chief of the Henrico County Division of Fire in Virginia.
  • Froilan “Pepper” Valdez, chief of the Billings Fire Department in Montana.

The city said in a news release that 36 people applied for the job. City officials and an outside consulting firm, CPS HR Consulting, provided a list of the applicants to a community panel, which picked nine semi-finalists.

A group consisting of Aurora City Manager Jim Twombly; deputy city managers Jason Batchelor, Laura Perry and Roberto Venegas; Aurora Public Works fleet manager Ron Forrest of Aurora Public Works; and litigation manager Isabelle Evans of the City Attorney’s Office then interviewed semi-finalists, narrowing the field to four candidates.

The finalists are scheduled to visit Aurora Fire Rescue facilities, meet with firefighters, talk to City Council members and take part in taped interviews with community panel members or their proxies on Jan. 5.

Later that day, from 6 to 7:30 p.m., the city will host a public meet-and-greet event at the Aurora Municipal Center, and finalists will continue meeting with council members, the mayor, members of the community panel and city officials the next day.

Community members may also submit questions to be asked during the Jan. 5 taped interviews any time between now and 5 p.m. Jan. 4 at EngageAurora.org/FireChiefSearch. The public can use the same link to submit feedback on the candidates’ interviews once they are posted on the city’s YouTube channel.

City officials said that a new fire chief is expected to be hired in late January or early February, after the community has had the chance to weigh in, a “rigorous” background check is performed on the chosen finalist and negotiations take place.

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