SUNRIVER, OR -- The Sunriver Service District Board has chosen new leaders for the police and fire departments. And, they're familiar faces in Central Oregon.
Board Administrator Debbie Baker says the decision followed a long process that whittled 48 applicants down to three finalists for police chief and two finalists for fire, who took part in public forums, last week. "The community was able to provide us input, the board had input from the two previous interview panels and then that final interview. So, based on all of that information, they voted to provide a conditional job offer to Cory Darling for Chief of police; and then for fire, they offered a conditional job offer to Tim Moor."
Darling is currently a Bend Police Captain; he served as interim chief in Sunriver for several months, after the controversial resignation of Chief Marc Mills. Baker says Darling was the best candidate to take on the challenges of the job and provide some stability to the department, "Sunriver’s a unique community in that it has a small number of permanent residents, but we do have an influx of visitors, so interacting with the community is really important for us. But, you also have to have strength, internally; so, it’s a dual focus."
Moor is the long-time chief of Redmond Fire and Rescue. Sunriver's last Fire Chief, Art Hatch, was also hired from Redmond. Baker acknowledges it’s unusual to search for a fire and police chief at the same time. But, she says it didn’t start out that way. The process initially began with the retirement of Chief Hatch in August, "The board was considering whether to merge the two departments under a Public Safety Director. But, when the issue with came up Chief Mills and he resigned, the decision was made to move forward with two executives in each of those disciplines. The disciplines are very different, although they’re both public safety. But, they decided we needed leadership in both of those departments."
Baker says they must still complete background checks, physical and psychological exams and contract negotiations. She's optimistic that process will move quickly because both men are local, which she says has other benefits, as well. "It’s a little bit of an advantage to know the make-up of the area, as far as connections with other agencies, and understanding what the issues are of the area." Baker hopes Hatch and Darling will be on the job by July first, if not sooner.