EAST LIVERPOOL - The choice facing city officials in the selection of a new firefighter could be a difficult one, not due to lack of good candidates but because all 10 candidates are good.
The top 10 scorers on the recent Civil Service exam are in the process of being interviewed this week, with two still to be interviewed, according to Service-Safety Director Ryan Estell, who said, "It's an extremely good group."
For the first time, the city has incorporated a community member into the interviewing process, with Todd Alexander, president of the area chamber of commerce, sitting in with Estell and fire Chief William Jones.
Although the original plan was to include a few community members, Estell said one of the candidates traveled here from South Carolina, and to accommodate his schedule, interviews had to commence Monday, which did not leave enough time to round up other citizens who could be available over the three-day interview period.
Along with Jones, Alexander interviewed candidate David (Alex) Estell, the service-safety director's brother.
Estell said the varying backgrounds brought to the table by the candidates will make it difficult to choose among them, but said each of those backgrounds could be beneficial to the fire department.
Several of the candidates already have firefighting training and experience, while others have construction backgrounds and still others military experience, all of which Estell said could prove to be assets.
None of the candidates will be ranked until all the interviews are completed, he said, adding he hopes to name someone to the position by the end of the month.
Those in the top 10 (in order of scoring) were: Robert L. Huffman (94.13); Daniel Brown (93.17); Joshua Hissom (91.03); Neil Cornelius (88.35); Antony Cumo (86.33); Christopher Osborne (78.03); Spencer Chronister (75.83); David Estell (75.08); Kevin Minamyer (74.62); and Chris Jordan (74.50).
Huffman, Brown and Hissom gained veteran credits that raised their total scores. Prior to the credits being issued, their scores were 78.44, 77.64 and 75.86, respectively.
Although City Council has earmarked $60,000 in the budget for one firefighter, Jones has said he hopes more will be added in the coming year as retirements take place.