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BREAKING: Arlington’s Fire Chief is Retiring

Arlington Fire Chief James Bonzano is retiring in a few months, ARLnow.com has confirmed.

The county will formally announce Bonzano’s retirement this afternoon. A job posting, seeking his replacement, was recently published on the county careers website.

Bonzano will have served as chief for about three years when he retires, capping a 34-year career with the Arlington County Fire Department that included service as EMS branch director at the Pentagon following the Sept. 11 terror attacks. He was appointed acting chief following Chief James Schwartz’s ascension to deputy county manager in 2015 and was subsequently named the permanent fire chief in 2016.

In a statement, County Manager Mark Schwartz lauded Bonzano’s commitment to the Arlington community.

“Jimmy has dedicated his career and his life to Arlington County and the people who live and work here, and I thank him for all he has done in his more than three decades of service,” said Schwartz. “His commitment to strong and progressive leadership has ensured the safety of our community.”

Bonzano, who was born in Arlington, said that “it has been my privilege to serve the community I love for 34 years.”

“The time has come to slow down and spend time with my family,” he said in a statement. “I am honored to have led the dedicated men and women of the Arlington County Fire Department, and I am proud of what we have achieved together.”

“I offer my sincere thanks to Mark Schwartz, the executive leadership team, the men and women of the fire department, and the citizens of Arlington County for providing me the opportunity to be their Fire Chief,” he continued. “It has been a remarkable experience I will always cherish.”

The fire department has been facing staffing challenges amid retirements, though the new county budget seeks to address that via increases in first responder pay. A new recruit class of 28 firefighter/EMTs, just sworn in last week, will also help “make the department’s staffing numbers whole.”

An exact retirement date has not been confirmed, but a fire department spokesman said that Bonzano will retire at the end of the summer.

The county is currently in the process of looking for a new chief. The full text of the job posting for the position is below, after the jump.

Hat tip to Tom N.

Arlington County is looking for an experienced, progressive senior level manager to lead its nationally recognized Fire Department.  This Fire Chief will direct the overall operations in an all-hazard organization to deliver essential emergency and non-emergency services to the community to include fire suppression, fire education and prevention, special operations, and EMS services. The Fire Chief reports directly to the County Manager and is responsible for setting the overall department strategy and direction, collaborating with other County agencies, and building inter-jurisdictional/regional relationships.

Responsibilities include:

  • Setting, communicating and implementing a strategic plan and vision for the department;
  • Delivering timely, cost effective and efficient all-hazard approaches to community services;
  • Using data to comprehensively assess operations and providing a vision to examine alternative forms of service delivery that may improve responsiveness and/or enhance resource conservation;
  • Engaging citizenry to foster support, input, and prioritization of needs for service delivery;
  • Predicting or adjusting priorities and services through analysis of performance measures and other analytical data;
  • Enhancing collaboration with other County agencies on mutual issues including Police, Emergency Management, Sheriff, and Public Health and with other local, regional, and federal public safety agencies and other public-sector organizations;
    Directing the preparation of the budget and managing expenditures for all department and grant funding efforts;
  • Directing the development of operational and administrative procedures, departmental policies, programs and initiatives; and
  • Managing change proactively and fostering a climate that embraces change.

As a department head, this position is responsible for hiring, transfers, promotions, demotions, and implementing significant disciplinary actions while an Assistant Chief manages day-to-day operations through three Deputy Chiefs.

FIRE DEPARTMENT

The Arlington County Fire Department (ACFD) operates 10 fire stations with a $62M operating budget and 340 uniformed and staff employees who provide services through three major programs:  (1) Emergency Services Program (Fire/EMS) which provides response for emergency and non-emergency requests for service; (2) the Support Services Program which includes Special Operations (High Threat, SWAT, HazMat, Special Events, Technical and Water Rescue), Fire Marshall (Code Enforcement and Prevention), and Communications and Logistics; and 3) Personnel Services including the Fire Training Academy, Health/Wellness/Safety, and Human Resources functions such as employee relations, timekeeping, and performance management. For more information please visit the Fire Department’s public website here.

ARLINGTON COMMUNITY 

Arlington, Virginia, is an attractive, well-planned community with excellent location and a unique blend of desirable living standards, and effective, pro-active government.  An urban County of about 26 square miles located across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., Arlington is best known to visitors as the home of the Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetery.  Arlington has won recognition as an innovative, progressive and dynamic organization that is well-known for its community-driven processes and its forward-thinking policies and practices with significant and meaningful opportunity for public participation. Since the 1930s, our community has viewed itself as a learning organization, one that strives to constantly improve for the benefit of all its residents.  That culture is infused throughout our workforce and community. For more information about Arlington, click here.

Selection Criteria

The successful candidate will have a combination of education and experience equivalent to a Bachelor’s Degree in Fire Science, Emergency Services, or related field and command-level experience managing multiple company operations.  This Fire Chief will have a supportive leadership style that motivates, inspires and engenders coaching, mentoring and team building, and fosters cooperative relationships within the Fire Department and with County leaders, the community, the County Board, and regional, state and national partners and stakeholders.

Additionally, the successful candidate will:

  • Be a progressive visionary leader who understands modern fire suppression, emergency medical, prevention, and emergency preparedness strategies and techniques;
  • Practice accountability and stewardship and instill pride and confidence in staff;
    Be accessible, approachable, open-minded, flexible, visible, engaging and genuinely care about department members;
  • Value, embrace and drive change, technology, process improvement and innovation and plan for emerging trends directing efforts to enhance technology, safety, and regulatory compliance;
  • Evaluate results and impacts of change on the workforce and community ensuring core services are not compromised;
  • Engender trust and credibility where “actions match words” and be viewed as a credible leader across a broad spectrum of issues;
  • Be an effective listener and communicator with strong interpersonal skills who considers divergent views and evaluates them prior to making impactful decisions;
  • Be capable of setting and communicating a strategic vision for the department and community with an understanding of how to drive the workforce toward achieving a shared common vision;
  • Promote professional development, coaching and mentoring and foster a work environment that motivates individuals to excel in their areas of responsibility;
  • Demonstrate cultural competency and an understanding of diversity and inclusion concerns in recruiting, retention, development, and promotional selection efforts;
  • Be skilled at working in a culturally and ethnically diverse community;
  • Collaborate and demonstrate an ability to build rapport with elected officials, peers, community representatives, County leadership, department staff and association leadership, and build partnerships at the local, state, and federal levels to achieve the ACFD vision, to secure resources, and to advocate for the County, department, workforce or community interests; and
  • Have an unblemished record of ethical and professional conduct that can withstand intense public scrutiny.

The preferred candidate will also have a Master’s Degree in Fire Science, Emergency Services, or related field and leadership certifications that indicate professional achievement such as National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer, Center for Public Safety Excellence Chief Fire Officer (CFO), Incident Command System (ICS) 400, Fire Officer III and Instructor III.

Special Requirements

Interested candidates should apply by the preferred filing date of June 4, 2018 to receive first consideration.  Please go to http://careers.arlingtonva.us to apply.  Access this position by clicking on the apply now tab.

Please attach a cover letter and resume to the on-line application or include your response in the supplemental question. Your letter should describe why you are interested in the position in Arlington County.  You should also describe your experience and accomplishments in the following areas: (1) budgeting, and capital improvement; (2) labor relations; (3) leadership development and succession planning; (4) performance management especially as it relates to accountability, deployment of services, and use of metrics to drive decisions; (5) overseeing or directing and implementing new programs or initiatives that had significant impacts on your department or community; and (6) regional partnerships. Also, be sure to describe the size of the organization(s) you served including budget and staff, the range of services and functions you managed, the ranks you held, and to whom you reported.

Additional Information

The Fire Chief is part of the Executive Management Accountability Program (EMAP), a pay-for-performance management system, in which Senior Executives are eligible for a negotiated salary/benefits package and are evaluated and compensated based on a performance agreement linked to the County Management Plan and results achieved.

Salary is negotiable with a salary range of $117,145.60-$224,806.40 (effective July 1st) with a competitive benefits package including health and dental insurance, generous leave programs and holidays, and a competitive retirement program including a defined benefit plan, a defined contribution plan and a deferred compensation plan.  For more details about our benefits please click here.

A resume may be submitted as an attachment rather than completing the work experience portion of the application. Interested qualified applicants are encouraged to submit their applications as soon as possible as this recruitment is open until the position is filled with a preferred filing date of June 4, 2018.  Qualified applicants whose application is received by the preferred filing date will receive first consideration. Applications received after the preferred filing date may be considered if a hire is not made from applicants received by the preferred filing date.

This is a confidential process and references will not be contacted until mutual interest has been established. A comprehensive reference/background check will be conducted for all candidates who are finalists for this position.  The background check may include checks on the following:  criminal record, driving record, education, certifications, credit rating and media review.

Employment is contingent upon completion of a physical exam and the selected candidate will be required to complete the Commonwealth of Virginia Statement of Economic Interest form upon acceptance of employment and annually thereafter.

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County Board Appears to Be Seeking New Clerk

(Updated: 4:05 p.m.) The Arlington County Board needs a new clerk “to serve as its principal staff officer,” according to a government job posting.

The current clerk, Hope Halleck, has been with the county since 1987. She has served as clerk to the County Board since 2008, according to her LinkedIn page, having served from 2006-2008 as a constituent services manager.

Her last day with the county will be April 27. Halleck told ARLnow that she’s getting married in June, and, along with other pleasant life events, both she and her partner are retiring and “ready for new adventures.”

The listed salary is between $88,025.60-$145,184, in line with the county’s 2018 county employee pay scale.

According to the job listing, the clerk will be expected to provide “leadership and supervision to a team of experienced and service oriented staff including the Deputy Clerk, Senior Management Analyst, and Receptionist and, in coordination with the County Board, the Board Members’ Aides.”

Key responsibilities will include “serving as the official record-keeper for the Board,” “providing management, staff supervision and administration of the County Board Office,” and “acting as the Board’s liaison to the public.”

File photo

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Morning Notes

Is Yelp Coming to Rosslyn? — Rosslyn’s 1812 N. Moore Street tower, the future corporate headquarters of Nestlé USA, could also be a destination for review website Yelp. The San Francisco-based company is reportedly considering opening an office in the D.C. area and 1812 N. Moore is on the short list. Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman grew up in Arlington. [Washington Business Journal]

Democratic Committee Recommends Primaries — In a move that could be seen as a rebuke of the Arlington County Democratic Committee’s decision to hold a caucus to select a County Board nominee this year, the 8th District Democratic Committee has approved “a resolution saying primaries, not caucuses, should be the main form of nomination of Democratic candidates.” [InsideNova]

County Employee Is ‘Roadeo’ Star — Alexis Zambrano, a long-time county equipment operator, has scored a silver award in a regional “equipment roadeo” competition, sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic American Public Works Association. [Arlington County]

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Morning Notes

Rosslyn skyline

La Tagliatella Expansion Plans on Hold — La Tagliatella, the Europe-based Italian restaurant chain that opened in Clarendon only to receive a scathing review from Washington Post restaurant critic Tom Sietsema, is putting its U.S. expansion plans on hold. That includes the chain’s planned Shirlington location, in the former Extra Virgin space. The Clarendon location will remain open for the time being. [Washington Business Journal]

Remembering Arlington’s ‘Little Saigon’ — The timing of two separate events helped to transform the Clarendon neighborhood into a cluster of Vietnamese stores and restaurants known as “Little Saigon” in the 1970s and 80s. One event was the Vietnam War and the Communist takeover of Vietnam, which drove tens of thousands of Vietnamese refugees to the United States. The other was the construction of Metro, which drove away mom and pop businesses from Clarendon and forced landlords to lower their rents and seek new tenants. [Falls Church News-Press]

Raises for Top County Officials — The Arlington County Board on Tuesday quietly approved raises between 3.2 and 3.5 percent for top officials like County Manager Barbara Donnellan and County Attorney Stephen MacIsaac. The raises are retroactive to Jan. 1. Rank-and-file county employees are receiving a 3.5 percent raise this year. [Washington Post]

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Arlington Named ’10th Unhappiest Place to Work’

Aerial view of Rosslyn (Flickr pool photo by @ddimick)Arlington has been named the “10th unhappiest city to work” in the country, according to a new survey by career site CareerBliss.com.

Washington, D.C., comparatively, was named the second-happiest city to work in the country. Each city was evaluated by 10 factors, including “one’s relationship with the boss and co-workers, work environment, job resources, compensation, growth opportunities, company culture, company reputation, daily tasks, and control over the work done does on a daily basis,” according to Forbes.

Each factor was rated on a five-point scale by a survey of more than 20,000 employees. Washington D.C.’s 10 factors averaged to a score of 3.925, behind only San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif., which came in with a score of 3.93.

Arlington’s score was not listed — the list only gave scores of the top and bottom 5 cities — but the supposed unhappiest city to work in America, Cincinnati, Ohio, came in with 3.32. Pittsburgh, Pa., the fifth-unhappiest city, had a score of 3.58.

Flickr pool photo by @ddimick

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Local Couple in the Running for Bridal Contest

A local couple is in the running for a Facebook contest organized by the national bridal store chain David’s Bridal.

Samantha Sissman and Clyde Wentling, who first met as students at Arlington’s H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program, are getting married this summer. They’re hoping to win the $2,500 “Share Your Love” contest to help offset the expense of flying the mother of the groom-to-be in from her home in West Africa.

Sissman and Wentling both grew up in Arlington. Though they attended high school together, they only started dating in 2008 after meeting again years later through friends. Sissman, whose family still lives in South Arlington, has worked as an aide in the Arlington County Board office for nearly four years.

To vote for Samantha and Clyde, go to their contest entry page and click on the red ‘vote’ button. Additional information about the contest can be found here.

Photo via Facebook

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Morning Poll: Should Arlington Raise Employee Salaries?

A new analysis of county employee compensation, prepared by county staff, says that Arlington employees earn less than their counterparts in Alexandria and Fairfax County.

The Washington Examiner reports that veteran employees often earn thousands of dollars less than employees in Alexandria and Fairfax, the county’s two biggest competitors in terms of hiring. Despite the fact that Arlington often hires employees at higher starting salaries, the staff analysis recommends raising county employee salary ceilings in Arlington to compete for the best workers.

What do you think?


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