After the Payson fire chief’s abrupt retirement, the town is looking for an interim fire chief who can fill in until it hires a new chief sometime this fall.
So far, the town interviewed one candidate from the Valley last week and has another candidate lined up this week, said Police Chief Don Engler, who is also the deputy town manager of public safety.
While several Rim Country fire personnel had initially expressed interest in the interim position, all have pulled their names out of the running for various reasons, Engler said.
That means the interim fire chief will likely come out of the Valley.
In late May, longtime fire chief Marty deMasi announced he would take his retirement 1.5 years early after the town decided to do away with the fire marshal position to save money. The move did nothing to sway the council and earlier this month, Fire Marshal Bob Lockhart ended his eight-year career with the town. That has left the fire department without its top two leaders during the busiest time of the fire season. Battalion chiefs are now leading all department calls and Engler has taken a more active role overseeing operations.
Although deMasi is no longer working at the department, he is still on the town payroll thanks to several months of accrued time off. Engler expects the town to hire a new full-time fire chief sometime this fall.
Until then, the town is looking for a part-time chief who can work two to three days a week.