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Four candidates for Columbia fire chief position named

Monday, February 14, 2011 | 4:06 p.m. CST; updated 6:10 p.m. CST, Monday, February 14, 2011

COLUMBIA — The names of the four candidates for the Columbia Fire Department's fire chief position were released Monday.

The candidates will be in Columbia later this week for interviews and to familiarize themselves with the community, according to a news release from the city.

The four candidates are:

  • Gary W. Birch, fire chief, Holt (Mo.) Community Fire Protection District.
  • Jeffrey A. Grote, deputy fire chief, Kansas City Fire Department.
  • Thomas E. Solberg — fire chief, Peoria (Ariz.) Fire Department. 
  • Charles P. Witt Jr. — deputy fire chief, Columbia Fire Department.

A schedule for community events in which the candidates will participate will be released as soon as possible, according to the release.

Activities are expected to include:

  • Interviews with the citizen committee that advises the city manager.
  • Interviews with the city manager.
  • Meetings with Fire Department command staff and officers, and senior city administrative staff.
  • Informal discussions with the public at City Hall.

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