October 15, 2020 – Executive search firm The Mercer Group has been enlisted to find the next fire chief for the City of Milton, GA. Senior vice presidents Alan Reddish and Lisa Ward are spearheading the assignment.
Robert Edgar, who has been with the department for 12 years, is retiring from the job next month. The department’s only chief in its history, he was involved in firefighting for upwards of four decades, said the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. This month, the Milton City Council approved a $21,600 professional services agreement for The Mercer Group’s services in recruiting a new chief, the newspaper reported.
The Atlanta-based firm will be responsible for recruitment, reviewing resumes, screening candidates, conducting background checks, managing and participating in the interview process, and negotiations, said Sam Trager, Milton human resources director, in a report. The search firm expected to fill the role within 85 days, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution said.
“I am looking for an energetic leader whose focus on excellent service to our community is only rivaled by his/her desire to serve the fire-rescue department’s courageous men and women,” said Milton city manager Steve Krokoff. “The candidate must possess an extraordinary ability to understand people and circumstances, leveraging that ability to strategically steer the department and implement positive change. The new chief not only must be able to effectively communicate, but also process feedback and new information.”
Reporting directly to Mr. Krokoff, the new chief will provide leadership and manage the city’s fire and EMS roles, said The Mercer Group. The new leader will be expected to identify and assess all aspects of fire and rescue needs within the city. The chief will also develop strategies for meeting those needs, direct strategic planning to implement short- and long-term strategies and initiatives and allocate departmental resources appropriate to the goals and strategies.
The City of Milton wants a fire chief of high integrity and moral character who is a strategic thinker and strong, collaborative leader who can execute and implement new ideas and strategies. As a key member of the city manager’s leadership team, the successful candidate will be expected to implement data-driven solutions to problems, articulate a vision of excellence, establish credibility and consistency in delivery of services, motivate staff to embrace cultural change, and communicate effectively to the public and department staff.
The successful candidate must have a bachelor’s degree in public administration, fire administration, or a closely related field, as well as 10 years of certified fire and emergency medical services experience, six of which include command-level experience in a non-volunteer agency. A State of Georgia certification as firefighter or the ability to obtain and maintain the Georgia certification as firefighter within one year of hire is required. Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification is also necessary.
A master’s degree is preferred for this role, said the search firm. Current or former certification as a paramedic, as well as graduation from the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program or Chief Fire Officer Designation from the Center for Public Safety Excellence are also preferred. Candidates must possess a valid Georgia driver’s license, or the ability to obtain and maintain a Georgia driver’s license.
Located 26 miles north of downtown Atlanta, Milton is one of the northern metro Atlanta area’s newest cities. Incorporated in 2006, Milton has been recognized nationally for its high quality of life and has been consistently ranked as among Georgia’s safest cities. The Milton Fire-Rescue Department consists of 64 full-time personnel. It offers traditional firefighting and paramedic services, as well as programs aimed at educating, safeguarding and alerting the public.
The Mercer Group provides management consulting services to federal, state and local governments, health-care providers, transit authorities, utilities and private-sector clients. Its market niches include organizational and management studies, operational analysis, government consolidation and privatization, strategic planning, compensation and classification studies. Its executive search specialties include city management, utility executives, human resources, fire chief, police chief, executive directors, auditors, finance directors and more. The Mercer Group’s team of consultants has a combined experience of more than 200 years in these areas.
Mr. Reddish has over 35 years of experience as a local government manager serving as manager in three Georgia communities, most recently retiring as manager of the Unified Government of Athens-Clarke County after 15 years of service. His professional career also includes three years as associate director of the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia.
Ms. Ward has over 30 years of combined government and human resources experience. Prior to joining The Mercer Group, she served as director of employee development and benefits for Jackson Electric Membership Corp., the nation’s second largest EMC. Her previous employment was human resources director for Athens-Clarke County, where she managed all aspects of the department which served over 1,700 employees.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media