Granby Fire Search search down to three candidates

  • The town seal of Granby.

Published: 1/12/2017 3:00:50 PM

GRANBY — Three finalists have been named in the search for a new fire chief.

The candidates will be interviewed by the Select Board in a series of public meetings beginning at 4:30 p.m. Friday at the town offices on West State Street. Subsequent interviews will be held at 5:45 and 7 p.m.

“All three candidates on paper are very qualified,” Selectman Louis Barry said. “I think we are in a very good position.”

The first person to be interviewed will be John E. Mitchell Jr., the current fire chief at the Westfield’s Barnes Air National Guard Base. Mitchell, of South Hadley, has served in that role since 2013 and manages the day-to-day operations of a 60-person firefighting crew, according to Mitchell’s resume.

He has previously served as an airport firefighter and police officer and training officer at the Worcester Regional Airport. Mitchell is graduate of both Salem State Community College and Middlesex Community College.

David B. Hutchinson, of Rockland, Maine, will be the second candidate interviewed Friday. Hutchinson is the CEO of the International Firefighters EHH in Landstuhl, Germany. He also serves as fire chief and senior consultant for the Oil & GAs and Municipal Fire Division of Strategic Fire Solutions.

He served as a fire captain for three years in a combat region in Baghdad, Iraq. Hutchinson holds a master’s of science in emergency management from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

James A. Cleveland Jr., of Loving, New Mexico, will be the final interview of the day. Cleveland serves as the deputy fire service director and paramedic for the Eddy County Fire Service in Carlsbad, New Mexico. In that role, he is responsible for 11 volunteer fire districts as well as the Eddy County Search and Rescue.

Cleveland is working towards a bachelor’s degree in fire service administration.

The position of chief was vacated in March 2016 when then Chief Russell Anderson left the department after 10 years in that role.

The Granby Chief Search Committee received 12 applications for the position and planned to interview six, Barry explained. One candidate withdrew from consideration and the committee ended up interviewing five, according to Barry.

“We had a number of very, very good candidates,” Barry said. “When we interviewed them, it was difficult to narrow it down to three.”

Emily Cutts can be reached at

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