Lebanon Fire District Chief Gordon Sletmoe is set to retire at the end of the year after 37 years in the field.
Before he leaves his post, however, he has two goals.
The first is to help the district gain voter approval for a replacement bond which would allow the district to replace its primary station and several pieces of equipment.
The second is to see a new chief come on board to lead the district. That goal is moving closer to completion as the district has announced the six finalists for the position:
• Robert Bertram, currently the fire chief for the Chaffee County Fire Protection District in Colorado.
• Brynne Burrough, the regional deputy fire chief for Marine Corps Installation Pacific Command Fire & Emergency Services in Okinawa, Japan.
• Bryan Crump, battalion chief of the West Jordan Fire Department in Utah.
• James Dickerson, Division Chief of Operations for Siuslaw Valley Fire & Rescue.
• Michael Kinkade, fire chief serving two communities — Forest Grove Fire & Rescue and Cornelius Fire Department — as well as three rural fire protection districts: Gaston, Forest Grove and Cornelius.
• Joseph Rodondi, who retired as deputy fire chief/acting fire chief for the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department in California in 2015.
Each of these candidates will be in Lebanon this month to meet the public and take part in a final interview process with the Lebanon Fire District Board of Directors.
A reception with the candidates will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 16, at Station 31, 1050 W. Oak St., Lebanon. The public is invited to attend this event to meet the finalists and ask questions.
“The community can give their perspective on which of these six they believe would be best for the community,” Sletmoe said.
The following day, the candidates will go through the final interviews. These interviews will be led by the Board of Directors, but will also include community leaders.
Sletmoe, 55, said the board expects to make the final decision on the new chief soon after the interviews.
The goal is to have the new chief in place Dec. 1, with Sletmoe staying on that month to help with the transition.
The district worked with the Prothman company, based in Issaquah, Wash., to conduct the job search. Sletmoe said Prothman reached out to approximately 7,500 fire agencies to publicize the opening and posted the job in a variety of trade journals and online job boards used by the industry.
“The job was advertised very widely.” Sletmoe said.
Prothman also handled the initial applications and the first-level screening. Twenty-four candidates applied and the Lebanon Fire District Board of Directors whittled that list down to the six finalists.
Sletmoe has led the Lebanon Fire District since May 1, 2015. He joined the district a year earlier as assistant chief, with the expectation that he would take over the leadership role upon the retirement of Chief Dan Woodson.
Sletmoe said he feels fortunate to have had the opportunity to serve the Lebanon Fire District.
“I consider it a privilege. I think together, we here in Lebanon have done amazing things. We have more paid employees than we’ve ever had in the history of the Lebanon Fire District, we have more volunteer firefighters than we’ve ever had, our finances are sound, our people are stellar,” he said. “We’ve had many, many new people and we’ve promoted the existing people into new positions and those have all been really good for the organization.
“We are headed in the right direction and I honestly believe that the right fire chief is going to come in here and flourish and take Lebanon Fire District to even greater places than we are right now.”
The Lebanon Fire District provided the following information about the candidates:
Robert Bertram has more than 25 years of continuous fire service experience and education, including 13 years of leadership experience. He has been the fire chief for the Chaffee County Fire Protection District in Colorado since 2013. Prior to that, he was fire chief for the Hudson Fire Protection District and he was also fire chief for Florissant Fire Rescue, both in Colorado. Bertram also has several years of volunteer experience with a number of agencies in Colorado, including serving as volunteer firefighter, wildland firefighter, lieutenant and deputy chief. He has associate degrees in fire service management and fire science, both from Pikes Peak Community College, and a bachelor’s degree in fire & emergency services administration from Colorado State University.
Brynne Burrough has been a fire service professional for over 30 years and has been a chief officer for the last 18 years. He has been with the Department of Defense since 1990 and is currently regional deputy fire chief for Marine Corps Installation Pacific Command Fire & Emergency Services in Okinawa, Japan. He has also been fire chief for Naval Support Activity in Bahrain, assistant fire chief/operations at both the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina and Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Burrough has an associate degree in Fire Science, a bachelor's degree in Public Safety Administration and a master's degree in executive leadership, both from Grand Canyon University, and he is a graduate of the National Fire Academy's Executive Fire Officer Program.
Bryan Crump has served the West Jordan Fire Department in Utah since 1999 where he started out a firefighter. He progressed to fire investigator in 2001 and was promoted to captain in 2005. He has been a battalion chief since 2013 and has also served as acting deputy fire chief. Early in his career, he was an engineer/fire investigator/firefighter for the South Jordan Fire Department in Utah. Crump has an associate degree in fire science from Utah Valley State College, an associate degree in behavioral sciences and a bachelor’s degree in psychology, both from Utah Valley University, a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Gonzaga University, and he is a graduate of the National Fire Academy's Executive Fire Officer Program.
James Dickerson has been the division chief of operations for Siuslaw Valley Fire & Rescue in Oregon since 2016. Prior to that, he was division chief of training/operations for the Netarts-Oceanside Fire District in Oregon from 2009-2016. In Iowa, he was a master firefighter for the city of Ames Fire Department for five years, a paid-on-call firefighter/EMT for the city of Urbandale, and early in his career, was a volunteer firefighter for the city of Newton Fire Department. Dickerson has a bachelor of arts degree in law, politics and society from Drake University in Iowa, he has done coursework in fire science at Kirkwood Community College in Iowa, and he is currently working toward the Executive Fire Officer Program certificate from the National Fire Academy.
Michael Kinkade has served as fire chief since 2008 for two city fire departments and three rural fire districts in Oregon, concurrently — Forest Grove Fire & Rescue, Cornelius Fire Department, Gaston Rural Fire Protection District, Forest Grove RFPD and Cornelius RFPD. Prior to that, he was a division chief for the Lebanon Fire District in Oregon. Kinkade was also a division chief for the city of Corvallis Fire Department for 12 years, and in California, he was a division captain for the city of Salinas Fire Department, and a firefighter for the city of Carlsbad Fire Department. He has an associate degree from Linn Benton Community College, a bachelor’s degree in management from George Fox University, and is a graduate of the National Fire Academy's Executive Fire Officer Program.
Joseph Rodondi has over 30 years of fire service experience. He was with the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department in California from 1997-2015, beginning as a firefighter/paramedic and progressing through the ranks as fire engineer, captain, battalion chief, and finally deputy fire chief from 2010-2015, when he retired as deputy fire chief/acting fire chief. Prior to serving the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department, he was with the San Bruno, California, Fire Department from 1985-1997, where he was a firefighter/acting fire captain and fire mechanic. Rodondi has an associate of science degree in fire science from the College of San Mateo in California, and a bachelor of science degree in business management from the University of Phoenix.