Dundee has a new fire chief
The search for a new fire chief in Dundee has ended with the hire of a central Oregon man.
At its June 15 meeting, the Dundee City Council unanimously voted in favor of hiring Brandon Hamilton to lead the fire department.
"Brandon has 20 years of progressive experience with agencies similar to the Dundee Fire Department, including serving as chief executive officer and fire chief …," City Manager Rob Daykin wrote in the June 15 council packet. "Brandon is also a small business owner and has demonstrated extensive involvement in the communities he has resided in … We are fortunate to have the opportunity to hire someone as Brandon with proven professionalism and experience."
According to his LinkedIn account, Hamilton -- who owns a towing and recovery business in Silverton -- was an assistant fire chief at Drakes Crossing Fire District for more than four years, served as interim fire chief for the Siletz Valley Fire District for five months and has been at South Sherman Fire & Rescue for a year. He was also fire chief in Crescent for nearly a year and in the Sublimity Fire District for six years.
In addition, he served as a police officer in Stayton for nearly five years and in Aumsville for about two years.
He is working toward an associate's degree in fire science/firefighting from Columbia Southern University, an online school headquartered in Alabama.
"I have over 28 years of fire service experience (combination of volunteer and career)," he said on LinkedIn. "I am charged with the day-to-day operations of the fire district as well as budget development, implementation and monitoring; short-, mid- and long-range planning both financially and operationally; policy development and monitoring."
Hamilton, 41, opined on what it will take for fire departments to be successful locally and across the country.
"I firmly believe that public safety organizations' survivability in the future is dependent on higher levels of cooperation, collaborative approaches, functional consolidations, full mergers, etc.," he said on LinkedIn. "I feel the current state of the economy is the 'new normal' and that we will be forced to look at ways to continue to cut costs and streamline our delivery models to continue to 'do more with less,' as they say."
Hamilton will replace John Stock, who was fired in August 2020 after multiple complaints were filed by firefighters in the department claiming sexual and workplace harassment, among other charges. Stock had been placed on administrative leave in March 2020 as an investigation by the Bureau of Labor and Industries ensued. BOLI dismissed one claim filed by a female firefighter, citing statute of limitations on the allegations, but brokered a conciliation agreement between a second female firefighter and the city in late May. The agreement required the city's insurance carrier to pay the firefighter $170,000 and the city $10,000, but also included a stipulation that the city would admit no wrongdoing for not properly overseeing and taking action on Stock's behavior.
The search for a new chief began in April, when the city initiated a process with the aid of the Western Fire Chiefs Association. The WFCA helped the city build a profile of what they were looking for in a new chief, as well as to advertise the position. The city formed a committee to review the eight applications it received, interviewed five and the City Council met to review the top applicants in mid-June.
The city set Hamilton's pay at $80,418 annually, slightly more than Stock's $79,000 salary. Hamilton is expected to start in the job in early July.
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