Panama City officials are close to hiring a new Fire Chief. They're trying to replace Wayne Watts who left several months ago. City officials are in their final round of interviews.
The four finalist for Panama City's Fire Department chief’s position traveled from across the state to meet with officials for the first time Thursday. Jerry Prater is the Acting Fire Chief. He came out of retirement to fill the void. "Four candidates, and any one of them could do the job, but now we are have to narrow it down and see who we feel could be the best one."
Prater says city officials say each candidate's education is paramount in their decision making process.
All four have Masters Degrees in management. But city officials also say their experience is the most important factor. Each has between 20 and 30 years, which they believe, makes them just right for the job.
Donald Hughes is a candidate for the post. "I'm going to offer the ability to grow by giving everybody the tools they need to be better than what they are now."
Alex Baird is another candidate also in town to meet the city leaders and the firefighters. "I'm gone take that leadership and I'm going to turn into progress. I think I can help the organization progress."
Richard Stover is another of the four finalists for the job. "I believe my ability to listen and to understand helps me to better find solutions to problems."
The final candidate is Steve Krivjank "I have a transparent management style where everyone in this department works together for "
Whoever is chosen, the current chief believes the department's future is bright. "We have good candidates. We will choose one of these candidates and we will be in good hands."
City officials say they should make their decision sometime next week.