The Waukesha Common Council will not give the Police & Fire Commission funding to hire a national search firm to select the next fire chief after Mayor Jeff Scrima broke a tie vote Tuesday night.
With indications that members of the Common Council want to hire an internal candidate, half the council refused to fund the search firm.
“It is a message to those employees that if you work hard, you could be rewarded,” said Alderman Andy Reiland.
The fire chief’s position is vacant because Fire Chief Allen LaConte retired in March. Assistant Fire Chief Steve Howard currently is serving as acting fire chief. The funding for the search firm would come out of the existing fire department budget from salary savings created by the vacancy.
The Waukesha Police & Fire Commission previously voted to have a nationwide search firm help find the next fire chief. The commission is in charge of all hiring and firing decisions at the police and fire departments per state statutes.
Alderman Terry Thieme said he couldn’t support spending $16,900 “to tell me that there is a good candidate here.”
Alderman Roger Patton said he was in favor of hiring a national search firm to help combat any feelings of jealousy or rivalries in the department.
"You say they have four that are eligible candidates,” Patton said. “Which one do you pick?”
Alderman Brian White was not present at the meeting.
Voting against funding a nationwide search were:
- Kathleen Cummings
- Rick Hastings
- Duane Paulson
- Eric Payne
- Steve Johnson
Voting for funding the nationwide search were:
- Paul Ybarra
- Chris Hernandez
- Joan Francoeur
- Joe Pieper
- John Kalblinger
- Vance Skinner