The city of Upper Arlington will begin its search for Mitch Ross' replacement within the department he has headed for the last 11 years.

The city of Upper Arlington will begin its search for Mitch Ross' replacement within the department he has headed for the last 11 years.

The fire chief recently announced his retirement, effect in early spring.

"We are fortunate to have many exceptional men and women working within our fire division," said city manager Virginia Barney. "In light of this, I have decided to initially focus our search for a new fire chief on internal candidates.

"A position of such prominence and value to the community warrants feedback and involvement from interested citizens and employees," Barney said. "As such, I am seeking feedback from the community to the following two questions: What qualities would you expect to see in the new fire chief? How could the new fire chief make the fire division more effective?"

Residents can e-mail their suggestions directly to the city manager's attention, at vbarney@uaoh.net. The deadline for comments is Jan. 4.

Using the community's feedback, the fire chief's job description and qualifications will be fine-tuned to meet the community's needs, according to information from the city. The anticipated timeline finds the position being posted internally Dec. 28 through Jan. 8, with interviews beginning the week of Jan. 11. During the first two weeks of February, a community advisory board including representatives key groups , the schools and business community, will meet with the top candidate(s) and make recommendations.

If all goes according to schedule, the successful candidate will be announced in early March.

Serving on the search committee, along with the city manager, will be Brian Quinn, police chief, and Regina Ford Drzewiecki, deputy city manager for human resources.

If the ideal candidate is not found internally, the city manager may broaden the search by posting the position externally. In such an event, an announcement would be made regarding the change in approach, anticipated timeline and steps in the process.

Questions about the search for the new fire chief may be directed to the city mkanager's office at 583-5040.