Todd Solice has served as interim chief since May, following former chief Philip Miller’s departure in April. He first joined the Clinton Fire Department as a part-time firefighter in November 1989, before working his way through the ranks over the next two decades, becoming a lieutenant in 1996 and a captain in 1999. He was promoted to deputy chief under Miller in 2001.
“We believe Todd is the right fit for the Clinton Fire Department at this time and we look forward to working with chief Solice in his new position,” said Clinton city manager John Connet upon the announcement Thursday.
Solice expressed his own enthusiasm over the city’s decision, and said he was glad to have the opportunity to continue his career at the helm of a department where he has worked for so long.
“I’m excited and looking forward to doing a good job,” said Solice. “We’re going to get this department running in the right direction. It’s going pretty smooth, but we can get better. I’ve got some good people.”
The city received 43 applications for the fire chief position, officials said. Of those, three finalists were chosen to participate in an assessment center after supplemental applications and telephone interviews.
In the past couple months, focus groups consisting of city officials, fire and emergency personnel, business and industry representatives and everyday citizens brainstormed on the various traits they felt the fire chief should possess. Their comments were then used to formulate the actual assessment center utilized in evaluating candidates for the job.
In all, the city conducted seven focus groups to receive input from city officials, city staff and citizens to identify the characteristics and abilities needed in the next chief, city officials said.
Following the focus groups, a human resource specialist generated a list of key dimensions to be used during the assessment center that would help gauge the knowledge, skills and abilities of each of the candidates by identifying their strengths, weaknesses and tendencies.
Of those abilities, many shared they wanted the next chief to be a good communicator, able to multi-task and be a leader with the skill to assess their own staff’s strengths and weaknesses.
“We felt it was important for the community to be involved in identifying the qualities needed for an important position such as fire chief,” Connet said. “The assessment center was an important part of the hiring process and proved to be a valuable tool in identifying the desired qualities in each candidate.”
As fire chief, Solice will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Clinton Fire Department. His duties will include establishing a mission and direction for the department’s future, developing and managing fire department personnel, developing the department’s annual budget and coordinating community outreach programs for fire prevention and safety education.
Clinton mayor Lew Starling said he is glad to keep Solice’s 20 years under the Clinton fire station’s roof.
“We are excited about Mr. Solice’s selection as the next fire chief in Clinton,” Starling remarked. “He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the position and we are confident he will do a great job for the city.”
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 121, or by email at email@example.com.