5 finalists

Five finalists are in the running to replace Gilbert Fire Chief Jim Jobusch, who retires July 7.

A total of 55 people applied for the job, according to fire spokeswoman Jennifer Synder.

“All of the candidates will have the opportunity to participate in interview panels, informal meet-and-greets with town leadership, and department forums with fire department sworn and professional civilian staff,” Synder said in an email.

“Feedback from these processes will contribute toward the evaluation of the candidates and the top candidate will be determined by the combined feedback of the interview panels, including the city manager; that selection will need to be ratified by the council. We anticipate arriving at a finalist well in advance of Chief Jobusch’s retirement on July 7.”

Whoever takes over will oversee a budget that currently is $42 million and a payroll of 273 employees, including 198 firefighters spread out across 11 fire stations. The salary range for the position is $134,000 - $214,000 and includes benefits, according to the Town’s job ad.

The five candidates are:

Rob Duggan

Duggan is currently the assistant chief for Gilbert Fire. He has served in that position for seven years and has been with the department for 22 years. Altogether, he has over 30 years of public-safety experience, according to the Town.

Duggan graduated May 2 from Park University’s Gilbert campus with a master’s degree in public administration.

Mike Contreras

Contreras currently is a division chief with the Orange County Fire Authority in Irvine, California.  He’s held that job since 2018.

Overall, he’s been with the Orange County Fire Authority since 1989, serving in a number of positions, including battalion chief, firefighter, paramedic and wellness-and-fitness coordinator, according to his LinkedIn account.

He has experience in directing physical training for fire academy recruits and spent years doing extensive research, data collection and analysis of injury and workers’ compensation trends.

His education includes a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from University of Nevada-Las Vegas and a master of arts from California Coast University.

 Val Gale

Gale is an assistant chief with Chandler Fire Department. He’s been with the department since 1997.

He worked his way up the ranks, serving as a firefighter, engineer, captain and battalion chief.

He has an associate’s degree in applied science in emergency response & operations from Chandler Gilbert Community College, a bachelor of science in Business from Arizona State University, and a master’s in administration from Northern Arizona University.

Raymond Hill

Hill has been an assistant chief with Fort Worth Fire Department since 2018.

He was hired as a firefighter in 1994 and worked his way through the ranks to engineer, lieutenant, captain, battalion chief and deputy chief.

He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas-El Paso in journalism, an associate’s in applied science degree in nursing from Tarrant County College and a master’s in managerial science from Amberton University.

Scott Walker

Walker joined the Phoenix Fire Department in 1994 and is currently the executive assistant chief, helping the fire chief with the day-to-day operations and management of the Department’s $380 million-dollar budget.

He has worked in all ranks in the department, including firefighter, public information officer, battalion chief, division chief, deputy chief and assistant chief.

He also is a member of Arizona Task Force 1 where he was deployed to hurricanes Harvey and Irma in 2017, and a member of the Department’s Incident Management Team, where he has been involved in the management and coordination of multiple, regional large-scale events that include a Major-League Baseball All Star Game, Super bowl XLIX, College Football Playoff games, and a deployment to Northern California in 2015 to assist with the management of wildfires.

He earned an associate degree in fire service from Phoenix College, a bachelor’s degree  in public safety and emergency management from Grand Canyon University, and he has completed the executive leadership program at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.