City Manager selects Alec Oughton as Fire Chief

Alec OughtonFollowing a two-day, in-person finalist interview process with community members, City Council members and city management in early January, Aurora City Manager Jim Twombly has selected Alec Oughton, Fire Chief of the Henrico, County, Va., Division of Fire, as Aurora’s next fire chief pending City Council’s confirmation at its regular meeting on Monday, Jan. 30.

“Chief Oughton brings a wealth of experience from a similarly sized department, and a similarly sized and diverse portion of the Greater Richmond, Va., area,” Twombly said. “I found his engagement with Aurora community members, council members and me to be authentic and genuine, and I believe he will garner the support of our dedicated fire personnel and the Aurora community. He is committed to our ongoing public safety changes and will add a new perspective to our work.”

“I am humbled to have been selected to serve the city of Aurora as your fire chief. The pool of candidates was remarkable, and each one brought significant experience, great ideas, and their heart for service to the process,” Oughton said. “I fell in love with this area in 2007, when riding through it as part of a pediatric cancer research fundraiser. It is a beautiful area with amazing people, and I’ve felt a strong pull toward this community since. I truly look forward to connecting with, and caring for, Aurora’s residents and Aurora’s firefighters.”

If confirmed by City Council, Chief Oughton is scheduled to start at Aurora Fire Rescue on Monday, March 13, pending the finalization of an employment agreement. More information about his background and vision is available in this recent community interview with Oughton.

Oughton was one of four finalists for the position. The others were Richard Davis, Assistant Chief of the Austin, Texas, Fire Department; Allen Robnett, Interim Fire Chief of Aurora Fire Rescue; and Froilan “Pepper” Valdez, Fire Chief of the Billings, Mont., Fire Department.

“Each of the finalists were well-qualified and interviewed well. I wish I could hire all of them,” Twombly said. “I am appreciative of Interim Chief Robnett’s many years of service to Aurora Fire Rescue, and I look forward to his continued leadership at the department. I also want to personally thank the members of the community that were directly involved in the selection process for their valuable insight and continued support.”

The city hired CPS HR Consulting, a firm specializing in the recruitment and selection of executive-level professionals in city, county, state, special district, and non-profit agencies, to conduct the search with a focus on recruiting a diverse pool of applicants.

Thirty-six (36) individuals applied for the position. The city management team and CPS HR provided a confidential list of the applicants to a diverse, well-established, broad cross-section of nine community leaders, whose information is detailed on, for review. The panel subsequently identified nine semi-finalists.

A city management panel, comprised of Twombly, Deputy City Managers Jason Batchelor, Laura Perry and Roberto Venegas, Fleet Manager Ron Forrest of Aurora Public Works, and Litigation Manager Isabelle Evans of the Aurora City Attorney’s Office, conducted semi-finalist interviews to narrow the pool of candidates to the four named finalists.

Community members were invited to submit questions to the finalists and about the process at Two community leaders used those questions to conduct taped, one-on-one interviews with each finalist which were subsequently posted publicly. The city welcomed community feedback about the interviews and the in-person community meet-and-greet that took place.

Aurora’s city charter requires the city manager to hire a fire chief and receive approval from the majority of the Aurora City Council.

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