The two finalists for Verona’s fire chief position are set to meet with the public to discuss how they would handle the position Tuesday, Feb. 4.
Verona interim fire chief Dan Machotka and York (Pennsylvania) Area United Fire and Rescue EMT battalion chief Matt Arnold have each been asked to deliver 10-minute presentations, followed by 15-minute Q&A sessions. It will start at 6 p.m. in the Verona City Center council chambers, 111 Lincoln St.
Arnold is to present first, then Machotka, city human resources director Mitch Weckerly told the Press. Audience members then will be able to submit feedback on each applicant.
The two candidates will also each have panel interviews that evening with the city’s five-member Police and Fire Commission, city administrator Adam Sayre and Oregon Area Fire/EMS chief Glenn Linzmeier.
Weckerly told the Press the PFC will review the audience feedback before making a decision. PFC chair Delora Newton told the Press in an email the PFC would not make the decision that night.
The city held a similar process for a previous round of applicants in October. The PFC rejected both finalists, Scappoose (Oregon) Fire District division chief Jeffery Pricher and former Woodstock (Illinois) fire chief Ralph Webster, in November, then drew another round of 12 applicants.
In the meantime, Machotka has been leading the department, first as officer in charge, then acting chief. Former chief Joe Giver’s last day in the office was Sept. 27, despite an official retirement date of Jan. 2.
Machotka has been with the department since 2010 and has served as VFD’s training officer, a lieutenant and deputy chief.
Arnold has been responsible for fire and rescue operations in York for almost four years, following a 10-year career in IT during which he was a volunteer with the fire department most of that same time.
York, which covers 23 square miles and 35,000 people, is the first regional “combo” fire department in Pennsylvania, notable because Verona – which covers 14,000 people in 32 square miles – is also a combo department, with both full-time (career) firefighters and (paid on-call) volunteers.