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Search for new MOFD chief continues

By Jonathan Morales
Monday, October 19th, 2009 at 3:31 pm in Crime, Moraga, Orinda, Roads.

Moraga-Orinda Fire District officials had hoped to have the search for a new fire chief wrapped up by the end of September, but they’re well past that unofficial deadline and it’s unclear right now then the district will have a new leader.

The Board of Directors has been meeting with consultants and interviewing candidates for several weeks now. Board President Pete Wilson told me today that the list of candidates is down to three but declined to say much more. The search is being led by consultants Bill Avery and Larry Bienati, who received over 50 applicants for the position. Various stakeholder groups and the board have whittled that number down to where it currently is.

Current Chief Pete Nowicki told me he has not been led to believe they have made a final decision, but added he’s been told not to schedule any more meetings on the issue. He said he would need 3-4 weeks to transfer command of the department to the new chief. His current contract expires Oct. 30, and an extension is on the agenda for Wednesday, so if there’s no announcement of a new chief, how long that extension is could be a clue to how close they are to hiring someone. Under his retirement plan, Nowicki can work as a consultant up to 6 months in a fiscal year, meaning he could potentially work until Dec. 31 since the fiscal year begins July 1.

In somewhat related news, here’s our article about Antioch’s police chief announcing his plans to retire but then come back as a consultant. Nowicki, of course, is “double dipping” as well, and most of the attention focused on the district lately has been on the pension he is drawing concurrently with his salary.

The MOFD meeting is Wednesday at 5 p.m., though it will begin in closed session. It will take place at the fire station at 1280 Moraga Way.

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