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Jones promises change tempered with consistency in fire department leadership

Posted: January 23, 2014 - 7:40pm
ERIC WHITE STAFF PHOTO  Mark Jones (right) attended a public meet-and-greet Thursday night.
ERIC WHITE STAFF PHOTO Mark Jones (right) attended a public meet-and-greet Thursday night.

The first of the local candidates for Conway Fire Chief was interviewed by city officials and had a public meet-and-greet at the Conway Chamber of Commerce on Thursday.

Mark Jones has been with the Conway Fire Department since 1977 and was promoted to assistant chief in 1982. He currently serves as a battalion chief. Though the titles have changed over the years, Jones said, his job description has been leader of CFD’s C-Shift since 1982.

Jones said that he started his career with the department hoping someday to lead it, and that while he has new ideas, he’s not going to seek major changes early on.

The best leadership strategy, Jones agreed, is to balance the potential for improvement and change and with the assurance of consistency in leadership.

He also said that he understands the city’s budget issues, with all city departments operating on a fairly bare-bones 2014 budget due largely to a sales tax plateau.

“I think I’ll be able to work under these conditions to provide the services that the citizens of Conway expect with the money that we will have,” he said.

Jones and current assistant chief, Mike Winter, are the two local applicants for the top position within the department.

A field of more than two dozen applicants has been narrowed to Jones and Winter, and to Joseph Gorman and Jerome Gaines, firefighters from Texas City and Fort Wayne, Indiana, respectively. Gorman and Gaines have had their in-person interviews and meet-and-greets this month.

Winter will have his meet and greet at 5 p.m. on Monday at the chamber.

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