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The Boston Globe

Metro

29 apply to be Boston fire commissioner

More than two dozen applicants, including one from Pakistan, have expressed interest in becoming Boston’s next fire commissioner, says the Phoenix firm hired to recruit candidates.

The list of 29 applicants includes chief fire officers or candidates with experience leading a fire department, and they hail from California, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New York, said Kevin Roche, lead search facilitator at FACETS management consulting group.

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One of the applicants is from Pakistan; another is from the United Kingdom. Five work in the Boston Fire Department, Roche said.

“We are very pleased with the candidates we’ve got and the high level of qualifications they all have,’’ Roche said.

The search firm has pledged not to release candidates’ names until it has a short list of three to present to Mayor Martin J. Walsh in mid-June. Roche said many of the candidates are employed, and the firm wants to maintain the applicants’ privacy during the initial phase of the search.

All but one of the applicants submitted resumes and letters of intent to lead the storied Boston Fire Department by the May 16 deadline, Roche said. The firm received one application after that date and decided to extend the deadline to Friday.

FACETS representatives will conduct telephone interviews Monday and Tuesday and may conduct other phone interviews. Candidates who pass the phone interviews will be invited to Boston for interviews June 7.

Roche’s account of the process differed from initial information provided by the mayor’s press secretary, who had said the application process was extended and would remain open until there was a “right fit” of candidates.

After the Globe inquired about the deadline, Kate Norton, the spokeswoman, said she and city operations chief Joseph Rull conferred with Roche by phone and agreed to set the Friday deadline extension.

The city hired FACETS in February and paid it $23,500 to search nationally for someone to lead the Fire Department, which has more than 1,400 uniformed members.

The previous permanent commissioner, Roderick J. Fraser Jr., stepped down in January after seven years. John Hasson, the longest-serving deputy chief, is serving as acting commissioner and acting fire chief.

As the search continues, speculation has escalated at firehouses that city leaders had already decided who will lead the department. The name of Deputy Chief Joseph Finn has repeatedly surfaced. The veteran department official is well known and well regarded by the rank and file.

Walsh has long insisted he is committed to a national search and will pick the most qualified candidate.

Meghan E. Irons can be reached at meghan.irons@globe.com.
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