The Ottumwa Courier

November 5, 2012

Knoxville takes search out-of-state

Steve Woodhouse
Journal-Express

KNOXVILLE — The search for a new Chief of the Knoxville Fire/Rescue Department is in its third round. Five finalists have been selected, all from different states. 

The City of Knoxville has been searching for a new fire chief since February. Interim Chief Greg Higginbotham was determined to not have the necessary qualifications to meet the new standards for the position, which were approved by the Knoxville City Council. 

With the search for a new chief to be in its third run, qualified applicants from the area, and Iowa, are few. City Manager Harold Stewart said the five finalists cross the spectrum of experience in the area, from seasoned veterans to young up-and-comers. They have already been interviewed over the telephone to make it this far. The five finalists are:

• Nicholas Bonstell of Holland, Mich.

• Michael Bracualt of Albuquerque, N.M.

• Mark Finnochio of Denver, Colo.

• Jeremy Henthorn of Sitka, Alaska

• Robert Wirtz of Yorkville, Ill.

Stewart said he is confident the City will find at least two candidates of these five who will stand out and be worthy of offering a contract. All of the finalists are aware of the pay range for the position. This was an issue in a previous search. 

The finalists are expected to come to Knoxville Nov. 29-30 for two days of testing and interviews. The City would like to have the new fire chief in place for the beginning of the new year, but that will depend upon the selected candidate's ability to relocate.