Excerpts from the rrstar.com:

A contract for fire chief was offered Friday by the Cherry Valley Fire Protection District, Gary Maitland, president of the district’s board of trustees said today.

The name of the finalist is not being released until after the candidate passes background and physical tests, as he is expected to do, Maitland said. His name may be announced at the trustees’ Dec. 7 meeting, and he likely will begin work in January.

The new chief will replace Craig Wilt, who retired in May after 44 years with the department. Interim Chief Doug Hayes did not apply. Maitland said two candidates from within the department were among the finalists.

All the candidates were male. Eight underwent an assessment, and four were interviewed by trustees. All were from Illinois. The finalist has more than 20 years of experience in firefighting.

Trustees haven’t finalized a salary, but the job was advertised for $95,000. The new chief likely will have a 2.5-year contract, as the district wants to get the contract in line with the fiscal year.

The district covers 35 square miles in the Village of Cherry Valley and unincorporated Winnebago County, serving 21,158 residents. There are 19 full-time employees; all are firefighters and paramedics except one, who holds only firefighting credentials. The district also pays 40 volunteer firefighters when they are on a call or at training.

The district has two fire stations with an annual budget of $3.4 million, which comes from taxes and ambulance service calls.