Applications abound for Conway fire chief

By Tammy Keith Published October 20, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
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CONWAY — The city of Conway has received 27 applications for the fire chief position, which was vacated by Bart Castleberry, who retired in July after almost 33 years with the department.

Mayor Tab Townsell appointed Conway firefighter Brian Moix to serve as interim chief.

Moix is not applying for the position.

Townsell will appoint the fire chief, but an advisory committee has been formed to review the applications.

“He asked each individual to be an independent adviser to him,” said Lisa Mabry-Williams, the city’s human resources director. “He reserves all final decision making, and he chairs all meetings of this open and public committee.”

“It’s my decision,” Townsell said in an earlier interview. “The [City] Council can override me by a two-thirds vote. They can’t initiate the hiring; they can’t pick one.”

The applicants are as follows:

• Mark Jones, battalion chief for the Conway Fire Department.

• Mike Winter, assistant chief for the Conway Fire Department.

• Jeffrey Bonkoski of Heber Springs, owner of JB Hazmat Consulting and Training.

• George Glenn, chief of the Maumelle Fire Department.

• John Payne of Morrilton, division chief/fire marshal for the Maumelle Fire Department

and chief of the Oppelo Volunteer Fire Department.

• Ron Rispoli of Russellville, director, property-risk/risk engineering for Entergy Corp.

• Jeffrey Tongate of Vilonia, instructor at the Arkansas Fire Training Academy in Camden.

• Craig Aberback of Cape Coral, Fla.

• William Baker of Elgin, Ill.

• Lonzell Blackmon of Little Rock.

• Robert Braden of Alsip, Ill.

• Beau Bufford of Bryant, captain of the North Little Rock Fire Department.

• Gary Estep of Klondike, Texas.

• Jerome Gaines of Fort Wayne, Ind.

• Daniel Gaumont of Ringgold, Texas.

• Joseph Gorman of Texas City, Texas.

• Michael Morton of Elk Park, N.C.

• Brian Nickerson of Los Alamos, N.C.

• Randy Rushing of Rison.

• David Servetter of Allen Park, Mich.

• Loren Shanek of Hot Springs; retired from the Lake Hamilton Fire Protective Association.

• Jerry Shepherd of Nokesville, Va.

• Brian Swartout of Naples, Fla.

• Ronald Thompson of Lake Ozark, Mo.

• Roland Williams of Rogers.

• Robert Wirtz of Yorkville, Ill.

• Robert Woody of Springfield, Mo.

The advertisement for the position listed the current salary as $87,846, and states: “Prefer a bachelor’s degree in management, public administration, emergency administration, management or a related field from an accredited college or university and 10 years of progressively responsible experience in the fire service, including serving as battalion chief or higher in a multi-station fire department in a city of comparable or larger size to Conway. Preferred qualifications include evidence of continuing training and self-development from the National Fire Academy. Equivalent combinations of education, experience and certifications may be considered.”

Mabry-Williams said the next advisory committee meeting will be at 5 p.m. Wednesday in the Conway City Hall Conference Room.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or

Niche Publications Senior Writer Tammy Keith can be reached at 501-327-0370 or

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