The City of Durham, North Carolina seeks a Fire Chief who is a mission driven, visionary, and innovative leader with a demonstrated history of being an advocate for the fire department that results in esprit des corps among staff, as well as a being a skilled collaborator and advocate with city government and the community. The Durham Fire Department (DFD) strives to be a regional leader in the fire service and the next Fire Chief will be tasked with assessing and implementing this vision.
Encompassing 110.31 square miles and with a population of about 263,000, Durham is located in the Research Triangle Region of North Carolina, home to Research Triangle Park and one of the most economically competitive regions in the world. Research and development from the region’s three major research universities – Duke University in Durham, North Carolina State University in Raleigh and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – and our many private and federal labs have fueled business and economic growth here for more than half a century and made the region a world leader in life sciences, information technology and clean technology. Durham is home to North Carolina Central University, the nation’s first public Historically Black College and University, now a major center for biotech and bio-manufacturing R&D, and Durham Technical Community College, a key partner in preparing a competitive workforce. Consistently ranked among the top places to live, work and play, Durham is a magnet for talent, which helps attract innovative companies working in high-growth industries. Durham, the “City of Medicine,” has long been known for world-class medical facilities, including top-ranked Duke University Medical Center, and an industry-leading pharmaceutical sector. More recently, it has become a hotspot for entrepreneurs and high-tech startups, propelled by the launch of American Underground, a startup incubator and accelerator. Meanwhile, all of downtown Durham is undergoing a dramatic transformation due to City investments a decade ago to build a premier performing arts center and newly renovated Durham Bulls AAA baseball stadium. Private investment has continued, redeveloping former tobacco and textile warehouses and historic buildings in many parts of the city into trendy, mixed-use developments filled with cool housing options, restaurants, artist studios, retail spaces and small businesses. Centrally located, Durham is a few hours’ drive from the beautiful North Carolina coast to the East and the Appalachian Mountains to the West.
City Government, Fire Department and Position Overview:
The City of Durham operates under a Council/Manager form of government with a budget of $388.1M, AAA bond ratings and approximately 2500 employees working across 24 departments. The Fire Chief reports to the Deputy City Manager.
The Durham Fire Department is an ISO Class 2 fire department that has twice received accreditation from the Center for Public Safety Excellence. The department provides fire, advanced EMT emergency medical care, hazardous materials, technical rescue, code enforcement, fire investigation, and public fire safety education to the citizens of Durham. The department’s mission is accomplished through the deployment of seventeen engine and five ladder companies, three EMS squad units, and one mobile support unit from seventeen stations. The Fire Department maintains automatic and mutual aid agreements with departments in Durham, Wake, Orange and Chatham Counties, and is a participating member of North Carolina Task Force 8, Urban Search and Rescue Team (USAR). In 2017, the fire department responded to 25,941 calls for service. Total staffing is 348 uniformed and civilian personnel with department operations supported by a $26.6 million budget.
The next Durham Fire Chief will be challenged to effectively manage the very recent merger of County and City resources, which added two stations and fifty-three employees to the Durham Fire Department. The Fire Chief will have to effectively navigate this opportunity and ensure that all stakeholders feel their respective needs have been adequately addressed. Additional significant challenges include working within budget constraints while continuing to ensure operational excellence in equipment, community risk reduction, the implementation of a new pay plan and consistent pressures relating to staffing levels, training and employee recruitment and retention.
The next Chief must be visible and engaged within the department and in the community, exhibiting outstanding communication skills with all stakeholders to achieve the high standards and excellence of service the community has come to expect. More information about the City and Department can be found at https://durhamnc.gov/620/Fire-Department.
The successful candidate:
- • understands and is experienced in embracing practices that support racial equity with an appreciation for a community that is has prioritized racial equity as a strategic goal at all levels of the organization;
- • proactively and strategically anticipates issues and opportunities and leverages resources to best accomplish goals of the community for fire safety;
- • eliminates silos and seeks commonality across functions intra-departmentally and works effectively interdepartmentally to build relationships in service to public safety goals;
- • expertly uses data and metrics to propose solutions and make decisions;
- • has a track record of innovation in career development and is committed to continued training and professional development for staff in order to build skills, achieve performance excellence and develop staff for promotional opportunities and varied job assignments;
- • experienced in media relations to represent the department and the City when called upon;
- • has a proven track record in building and maintaining morale through effective teambuilding, advocacy and consistency of policy application;
- • is skilled at diplomatically engaging with a diversity of stakeholders such as employees, other city employees, individual citizens, community groups, City Council members, regional, state and federal authorities in order to leverage department opportunities and mitigate challenges;
- • is an individual with impeccable integrity with a proven record of consistency and reliable performance;
- • has experience working in council-manager form of government and skills in navigating the complexities of varying roles; (need for building relationship, educating Council, clear communication, reestablishing trust);
- • has held multiple assignments across functional areas such as suppression, prevention, EMS, and administration leading to a rich understanding of breadth and depth of roles that fire fighters assume;
- • maintains knowledge of best practices in fire safety management through continuing education to include appreciation and understanding of technology;
- • is skilled in complex budget development and management, policy development and application and progressive fire safety strategies despite budget constraints;
- • understands the significance of diversity within all aspects of the department and has a proven track record of developing innovative solutions to attracting, retaining and promoting diversity;
- • communicates excellently both verbally and in writing and possesses well-developed interpersonal skills and abilities; and,
- • thrives in a culture of high performance expectations and personal accountability and has a track record of developing the same departmental standards as a highly accomplished fire service leader.
Qualifications and Pay:
The City seeks a fire safety leader with a minimum of 15 years’ progressive fire safety experience and 10 years of cross-functional and progressively responsible experience including fire suppression, prevention, EMS and administrative work at rank of Assistant Chief or higher; a BA/BS degree (Master’s degree highly preferred). NFA certification is also preferred.
There is a residency requirement to live within the corporate city limits of Durham within 18 months of appointment to the position. The full hiring range is $110,223 – $176,357. Starting salary will depend on experience and qualifications. The City provides an excellent benefits package. Visit www.durhamnc.gov/HRbenefits to learn more.
To confidentially apply for this position, please go to www.developmentalassociates.com, click “Client Openings” (or paste https://www.developmentalassociates.com/client-openings/client-positions/ into your browser) and then the Fire Chief – Durham link. All applications must be fully completed and submitted via the online portal. Application review begins July 3, 2018. The application period will close July Interviews and onsite skill assessments will be held August 16-17 in Durham for selected semi-finalists. All inquiries should be emailed to Durhamhiring@developmentalassociates.com. Additional information about the City is available at www.Durham-nc.gov. EEO/AA Employer. The recruitment and selection process is being managed by Developmental Associates, LLC.