Fire board selects new chief; screening committee recommends someone else

Published 2:00 pm Friday, March 24, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The Lincoln County Fire Board has selected a new fire chief to replace Danny Glass, who retired last year.

The Lincoln County Fire Protection District (LCFD) has selected Eric Davidson, current District Chief of Fire Station 1, to be the new county fire chief.

There were five applicants for the position, four of which were interviewed, according to LCFD Board Chairman Ashley Powell. One applicant withdrew his application before the interview.

Email newsletter signup

The applicants interviewed included Dustin Whited, James Lane, Eric Davidson and George Deboard.

A screening committee was created to deliberate the options, conduct interviews and make a recommendation to the board.

The committee included two non-fire board members, Stanford Fire Chief Scott Maples and Crab Orchard Fire Chief Larry Owsley, and three LCFD board members including Powell, Interim Chief Patrick Terry and board member Keith Campbell.

Powell said the screening committee ranked the applicants one-through-four and made a recommendation back to the board.

The committee recommended Dustin Whited, according to Owsley.

“He had more qualifications than any of the others,” Owsley said.

Despite Whited’s qualifications, the fire board chose Davidson because of his availability, Powell said.

“The decision to hire Eric was made because the board wanted a full-time chief that was available all the time,” Powell said. “Two of the other applicants have full-time jobs elsewhere and they work at 24-48 rotation and they weren’t willing to give up their positions at their other jobs.”

Whited works for the Lexington Fire Department and Lane works for the Nicholasville Fire Department, he said.

“So that was the decision the board made. Right, wrong, or indifferent, my opinion doesn’t matter because I didn’t get a vote,” Powell said.

Powell said because he is Chairman and on the screening committee he abstained from voting.

“I was acting chair for that meeting and then I was nominated Chair by the end of the meeting,” he said. “I did a roll call vote. That was the basis of it.”

All of the applicants met the qualifications that were required in the job description, Powell said.

“In the job description it says you must be a Level One instructor within two years of appointment,” he said.

Davidson is not currently a Level One instructor, so he will need to complete the training within two years of becoming fire chief.

“The board chose to hire him because of his full-time availability,” Powell said.

There was a lot of deliberation, he added.

“The executive session for hiring the fire chief lasted over an hour. There was a lot of discussion, a lot of pros, cons, the board took it very seriously,” Powell said. “Regardless of who’s opinion is what, the board made the decision, it was voted on and the majority won.”