Wauwatosa’s next fire chief will come from outside the state if the Police and Fire Commission’s top choice accepts the position.
Rob Ugaste, deputy chief of administration for the Lincolnshire-Riverwoods Fire Protection District in northern Illinois, was the commission’s selection this week. The decision came after an assessment that looked at how the candidates handled a mock emergency and two days of in-person interviews.
Several local candidates, including Police Chief Barry Weber, interim Fire Chief Michael Anton and Deputy Fire Chief Bill Rice, were considered but passed over.
Ugaste has served as a deputy chief for about a year, and assistant chief for 10 years prior. In Wisconsin, assistant chief is a higher rank than deputy but the structure is flipped in Illinois. Therefore, Ugaste is in a second-in-command position in his current job.
City administrators will negotiate compensation and the commission will have to vote on the terms before the hiring is official. The fire chief job is among the positions that require residency, so Ugaste would have to move to Tosa.
Earlier this week, the Common Council approved removing the residency requirement for the finance director. Many aldermen said they were more likely to continue to require police and fire chiefs to live in the city because it is important they be able to respond to emergencies in a timely manner.
A discussion on residency requirements is expected to happen within the next month.
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