Two out-of-state firemen are the only remaining candidates to become Little Rock's 13th fire chief.
City Manager Bruce Moore narrowed the applicant pool to his top two picks -- Brian Patrick Dunn, who is chief in San Angelo, Texas; and Delphone Hubbard, a division chief at the Memphis Fire Department.
Receptions have been scheduled for later this month for the public and elected officials to meet the finalists before Moore chooses which to hire.
Dunn, 50, has been the fire chief in San Angelo for the past 16 years. His meet-and-greet is scheduled for Nov. 13 at Curran Hall from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Hubbard, 50, has been a division chief in Memphis for almost two years. He started as a firefighter there more than 20 years ago. The reception for Hubbard is Nov. 20 at Curran Hall from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
Moore reviewed 56 applications for the position and interviewed six of the best. He said there were a number of great applicants but Dunn and Hubbard stood out.
"After the first round of interviews, I felt Chief Dunn and Chief Hubbard both possess the special qualities needed to lead" the Fire Department, Moore said.
Moore is looking to replace Chief Gregory Summers, who announced his retirement earlier this year. He will stay on for a transitional period once a new chief is hired by the end of this month.
Summers, 57, makes $133,980. He was hired at a $110,000 salary in 2009. He's the department's first black chief.
The Little Rock fire chief leads a department of 423 people with an operating budget of about $50 million. The job posting advertised an annual salary between $91,721 and $141,250.
Dunn said he's ready for the opportunity to grow at a larger department.
He's worked with the San Angelo department since 1990.
As chief in San Angelo he supervises 178 employees and makes $135,174 a year. He serves on the Firefighter's Pension Board and previously was a regional coordinator for the Texas Fire Chiefs Association.
His department, like Little Rock, recently received a Class 1 "ISO" insurance rating -- the best possible.
He's been chief during two Gulf Coast hurricane evacuations where San Angelo had to house evacuees. He also dealt with a 2011 wildfire that burned 158,000 acres -- the closest within a quarter-mile of the city limits.
Dunn is currently in working to create a firefighter and emergency medical technician program for high school students in which students will be certified EMTs upon graduation. He's skilled in creating partnerships with other organizations such as a mutual aid agreement with a nearby Air Force base, according to his resume.
Like Little Rock, San Angelo is a city manager form of government, meaning department heads like a fire chief report to the city manager who handles day-to-day operations. The mayor serves as the political head of the city.
Dunn started his career with the San Angelo department as a firefighter, then became a driver, lieutenant and captain before being promoted to chief.
He received his bachelor's and master's degrees -- both in business administration -- from Angelo State University in 1994 and 1999.
He was certified through the Public Manager Program at Texas State University in 2010. He also has an associate degree in fire protection technology.
In his cover letter, Dunn reported securing a $1.2 million federal grant to build a fire training center, remodeling and relocating several fire stations, and increasing city revenue in a time of difficult management during fiscal constraints.
He said in an interview that Little Rock attracted him to the job. Being promoted to fire chief at age 33 has given him time to develop unique skills that make him best to lead the Little Rock department, he said.
"I do bring a lot of experience as a fire chief -- almost 17 years of experience. I've got to do many things and work through a lot of different problems. A lot of people aren't at this level and have not had this opportunity," he said.
Hubbard also has risen through the ranks at his department.
As division chief in Memphis, he supervises seven employees and creates the budget within his division. He makes $96,000. He's steadily moved up the ladder, starting out as a private and emergency medical tech. He has been promoted to lieutenant, battalion chief over training and now division chief.
He serves on the city's credit union board and previously volunteered as a reserve deputy at the Shelby County sheriff's office.
Before joining the Memphis department in 1995, Hubbard worked as a deputy jailer for six years.
He attended undergraduate school at LeMoyne-Owen College, graduating in 2000, and obtained his master's degree from Webster University in 2014. Both degrees are in business administration.
In his cover letter, Hubbard said he was seeking a position that provided more opportunity to grow.
He has a four-part plan to implement if he is selected. It involves doing a community risk assessment; creating a professional development and succession plan for top officers; analyzing capital assets; and assessing his workforce.
He said that during his research of the city, he noticed that of the fire fatalities in Little Rock, most are age 55 or older and he'd like to figure out why.
His team-building skills and inclusiveness make him right for the job, he said.
"I have a leadership style that is inclusive of all. I want to hear your opinion before I have to make the ultimate decision. ... I believe through a joint effort of the community, Fire Department as well as the rest of the city of Little Rock government, we can make Little Rock even greater than it currently is now," Hubbard said.
Metro on 11/01/2017
Print Headline: Candidates for LR fire chief at two