The city of Pendleton is outsourcing its search for a new fire chief.
Pendleton Police Chief Stuart Roberts said the city signed a contract with the Western Fire Chiefs Association to find a permanent replacement for former fire chief Mike Ciraulo, who abruptly retired in April.
Roberts said the association would start its search in August, but he didn’t know when it would recommend a hire.
The contract comes with some assurance that the association will deliver a quality candidate.
Roberts said the city won’t have to pay the association until it makes a fire chief hire and retains them for a year after the hiring date. If those markers aren’t met, the association continues the search.
Although he oversees the fire department as the city’s public safety director, Roberts said City Manager Robb Corbett will have final authority over hiring a new fire chief. According to the police chief, Corbett will also make the decision about whether Roberts will continue to supervise the fire chief position going forward.
While Ciraulo has never publicly stated why he retired after more than two years as chief, Roberts’ role in monitoring the fire chief position was a point of contention in his two-year evaluation document.
Following Ciraulo’s retirement, residents and members of the firefighters union voiced their opposition to the move at a city council meeting.
Shawn Penninger, the assistant chief and fire marshal, is leading the fire department in the interim. He announced Tuesday night at the Pendleton city council meeting that the city has hired a temporary employee, with the title of assistant fire chief, to assist Penninger.