Ultimately, the city of Independence didn't have to look far to find its next fire chief.
Doug Short, who has served as deputy chief for the past three years, will succeed Fire Chief John Greene when Greene retires Dec. 26. Short, who has been with the department since 2012, will work closely with Greene over the next month to help make the transition.
Following a nationwide search, Short was selected from a field of about 30 applicants and six finalists.
Short said it's an honor to take the position and continue the momentum of a great department.
“I will put forth all effort to help grow this fire department through leadership, education and service to one that everyone can be proud of, respect and recognize as one of the best departments within the greater metro area,” Short said in a release. “I have spent 30 years in the fire service and enjoyed every minute of serving the public.”
Before joining the Independence Fire Department, Short had been Fire Chief for the West Peculiar Fire Protection District in Cass County from 2005-12. He started his career with the Fort Osage Fire Protection District, working up from firefighter/paramedic to division chief of training between 1992-2002. Before leading the West Peculiar force Short served as a vocational education instructor for the Fort Osage School District 2002-05 and was named Career and Technology Center Teacher of the Year in 2004.
When he joined the Independence department, Short first served as battalion chief of prevention before becoming deputy chief of administration in 2014. He received his bachelor's of public administration for fire service management from Park University and is working toward a master’s of education in adult and organizational learning.
Greene, a longtime veteran of the department who became chief in 2014, said he foresees a “really good, smooth transition.”
“He understands where we're at,” Greene said. “We worked together the last 3 1/2 years, and we think a lot alike. It will be good for the city and the department personnel.”
City Manager Zach Walker said he sought input from both fire command staff and union leadership to help select the next fire chief.
“It was very clear from all stakeholders that the chief needed to be a visionary leader capable of guiding the fire department into the next chapter of its long and storied history while also continuing to incorporate the department into (the city's” collective goals,” Walker said in a release. “It is clear Short possesses the necessary attributes to successfully lead the Independence Fire Department.”