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City announces three finalists for fire chief position

Three candidates have been selected to take over the fire chief position for the Columbia Fire Department, according to a news release from the city Monday.

The three candidates are Clayton Farr, Jr., Brian Dunn and Christopher Riley.

The selecting committee expects to make their final decision “sometime between two and three weeks following the interviews scheduled on Aug. 22,” city public information officer Sydney Olsen said.

The search for a new fire chief started in January after Andy Woody left the department for a job at Southern Arkansas University Tech.

Members of the public will have the opportunity to interact with the finalists during a meet and greet from 5 to 6 p.m. Aug. 22 at the Daniel Boone City Building, according to the release.

Farr is the current assistant fire chief and the public information officer for the department.

According to the release, he has 27 years of experience in fire services and has served the fire department in numerous capacities since 1998. He has covered various positions in the department such as firefighter, assistant fire marshal, lieutenant and shift commander.

Farr has also worked as a fire investigator for the Columbia Police Department, Boone County Sheriff’s Office and Southern Boone County Fire Protection District.

Dunn has served as fire chief for San Angelo, Texas, for the past 21 years and has more than 32 years of public fire service experience, according to the release.

Before holding this position, he served as captain-safety officer, lieutenant, driver and firefighter at the San Angelo Fire Department. Dunn has an accreditation from the Center of Public Safety Excellence as a chief fire officer.

Riley has more than 40 years of fire service experience. He served as fire chief in two Colorado municipalities; Pueblo and Colorado Springs.

He also serves on the U.S. Branch of the Institution of Fire Engineers as a member of the board of directors and worked as a consultant to FirstNet, a broadband public safety network.

The city received 29 application from candidates in 15 states, according to the release. The city also selected executive recruitment firm Strategic Government Resources to assist in the candidate search.

The Fire Chief Search Committee, led by City Manager De’Carlon Seewood, reviewed the applicants and selected the three finalists.

“All of our final candidates will have a tour of our great city and time to socialize with community members. I know they will be warmly welcomed to Columbia, and we are thrilled to have these excellent candidates here,” Seewood said in the release.

The Columbia Missourian is a community news organization managed by professional editors and staffed by Missouri School of Journalism students who do the reporting, design, copy editing, information graphics, photography and multimedia.