How Petersburg got Chief Liebold - for now

Monday January 4, 2021

by Craig Richards

for LNN USA

PETERSBURG - Thirty resumes later the Petersburg Fire Department remains under the direction of an Interim Fire Chief. An in depth search to secure new leadership has ended with no new hires.

Currently the city has secured the services of Interim Fire Chief Scott Liebold to take a deeper look at the fire services department and help to stabilize operations. One of the priority issues according to outgoing City Manager Ferrell-Benavides will be to address the city's EMS services as Petersburg has recently had to depend heavily on neighboring jurisdictions on various local calls.  

While three finalists were selected for the Chief position, ultimately no individual was selected. The procedure resulted in a final selection but the compensation package fell short of securing the hire. The city advertised the position resulting in thirty applications over a four to five month period. The search was conducted by  bid winner Management Partners a Cincinnati-based municipal-government consulting firm out of Ohio. The city sought the firm to ensure a professional level of review and evaluation of all candidates.

Of the 30 candidates who applied, six dropped out leaving twenty-four remaining candidates. Management Partners determined six finalists including the then Interim Fire Chief who eventually withdrew

from the process.

The five remaining finalists were interviewed and the group was narrowed down to three. Then both the council and fire department leadership interviewed the three finalists ranking them from first to third. .

The number one candidate was contacted and offered the job. Unfortunately for the city that candidate had another opportunity that offered a stronger compensation package. After reviewing the remaining two candidates the selection group decided that the ranking between the first choice and second individual was too far apart.

Ultimately given the city manager's resignation a decision was made to halt the process at this time. The process would resume when the new city management is in place.  

Liebld is being hired in on a flat non-benefit compensation of $120,000/year. The current budget is at $125,000/year with benefits. The previous Chief made $130,000/year.

The interim package will save the city $15,000 in benefits during the interim period while still filling the position with an experienced chief in the short term.

Securing Liebold's services came from the search process itself. He was one of the individuals serving as a fire expect for Management Partners on the panel. After some discussions Liebold accepted a short-term interim role. City Manager Ferrell-Benavides explained that as a retiree the system only allows Liebold three to six moths in that position - effectively setting the time table for the next search.

Liebld is being hired in on a flat non-benefit compensation of $120,000/year. The current budget is at $125,000/year with benefits. The previous Chief made $130,000/year.

The interim package will save the city $15,000 in benefits during the interim period while filling the position with an experienced chief.

Craig RIchards is the CEO of LNN USA and can be reached at LNNpublisher@gmail.com

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