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Chief’s a hard man to replace

Central Whidbey Fire and Rescue Chief Joe Biller officially “retired” Feb. 28, but he’s still on the job.

The search to find a replacement for the long-time chief has failed to find a suitable replacement.

The board of commissioners for Central Whidbey Fire and Rescue recently rejected all the candidates interviewed for the position.

“The board decided it wasn’t a good fit with any of those candidates,” Biller said Tuesday morning.

The board will meet Thursday, March 12, at the Race Road Fire Station at 5 p.m. to talk about how to move forward with finding a new chief.

Biller said original plans were to have a new chief hired in November and he would work until the end of February as a transition period.

He said the economy is making many fire service professionals hesitant to accept a new position. They may have difficulty selling their homes or they may not want to risk of taking a new job that will start with a probationary period. He added that the board is also scrutinizing candidates to ensure the new chief will be a good fit for the community.

There were originally four finalists selected from the pool of applicants. One was from Puyallup, one from Oregon and two were from California. One of them did not score high enough to move on to the interviews and psychological testing.

The board interviewed the three remaining candidates Feb. 26, but rejected all of them for one reason or another.

As for Biller, he is still serving as chief, working on a day-to-day basis. He will be taking an extended vacation later in March to visit Florida and Germany. After that, perhaps he can find time to retire.

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