Fire Chief Hiring Process

Fire Chief Graham retired from the Isle of Palms Fire Department on December 31, 2020 after 35 years of service to our community. Her leadership and contributions to the Isle of Palms community have been valuable beyond estimation and the City wishes her the best in this new chapter of her life.

  • Initial Application - After her retirement announcement, the City began the hiring process for a new Fire Chief in late October by announcing the opening on the City's website and in multiple fire protection industry and local government organizations. The City received 77 applications from around the country.

  • Qualification Screening - The City Administrator and Chief Graham evaluated the applications and resumes by reviewing the candidate's training, education, skill set, and experience. As part of the hiring process, all candidates were also asked to complete an objective pre-employment assessment that measures the cognitive ability and problem-solving aptitude of prospective employees.

  • Phone Screening - The City Administrator conducted phone interviews with candidates who met minimum qualifications from the qualification screening.

  • First-round Interviews - 10 candidates were selected for the first round of interviews conducted on January 8, 11 and 12, 2021 by the Personnel and Public Safety Committees.

  • Second-round Interviews - The Personnel and Public Safety Committee conducted second round of in person interviews on January 25 and 29, 2021. 

  • March 9, 2021 - The Personnel and Public Safety Committees met on a Special Meeting to discuss next steps in response to the declined employment offers. The majority of the joint hiring committee voted to go back to the final top 10 candidates, specifically the external applicants. 

  • March 10, 2021 -  In an effort to maintain leadership continuity of our Fire Department, City Administrator Fragoso assigned Police Chief Cornett to temporarily oversee both Isle of Palms Fire and Police Departments. The City’s goal is to provide continual support to all Fire Department personnel and a solid leadership structure and chain of command within the Fire Department until a new Fire Chief is appointed by Council. Chief Cornett’s proven leadership and experience managing departments will be a benefit as we move forward in the process of selecting the next Fire Chief. Chief Cornett has committed to working closely with all four Battalion Chiefs to serve in this leadership role and ensure a successful transition. The City’s top priority is protecting the safety and wellbeing of our residents and visitors. This temporary structure will not have an impact to service delivery.