Craig Aberbach, of Coral Gables, Fla., will take over as chief of the Hailey Fire Department on Nov 1, filling a position held by Chief Mike Chapman for 22 years.
Hailey Mayor Fritz Haemmerle selected Aberbach after a lengthy selection process. The city advertised for the position nationally, eventually narrowing the field down to three final candidates.
The finalists then underwent a series of interviews with city department heads, volunteer firefighters and City Council members.
“I was impressed by all three candidates,” Haemmerle said. “They had individual strengths and few weaknesses. It was a difficult selection.”
Haemmerle said there was never a complete consensus among City Council members on who should be chosen, but that Aberbach was always at, or near, the top among the votes.
“At the end of the day, the Hailey Fire Department volunteers felt most comfortable being led by him, and that certainly did sway my opinion,” Haemmerle said.
According to a memo sent from Hailey City Hall, Aberbach holds a master’s degree in management and a degree in fire science, as well as 24 years of fire rescue, emergency management and administrative leadership experience. He has served as division chief, battalion chief and captain of special operations. Haemmerle said his only concern is that the selection represents a trend in the valley of going too far afield in choosing people for staff positions.
“But Craig made a very hard commitment to the city of Hailey,” Haemmerle said.
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