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Peoria’s New Fire Chief: The Selection Process

PEORIA (WEEK) — Assistant Fire Chief Tony Ardis will be Peoria’s new fire chief. This comes after current chief, Ed Olehy, announced his retirement on Thursday. Tony Ardis is the brother of Peoria’s mayor, Jim Ardis.

City Manager Patrick Urich says family ties had nothing to do with Tony’s promotion, rather Urich says he hired him because he was the most qualified.

“It just so happens that his brother is the mayor of Peoria, I’m the city manager, he doesn’t report to the mayor, he reports to me,” said Urich.

Urich says nepotism was not at play when Tony Ardis was selected to be the River City’s next fire chief.

“Chief Ardis has moved through the ranks was a union president for many years in the department, has been progressively in management positions for the department and is the best person to lead the organization today,” added Urich.

And Urich says that experience creates the perfect candidate.

“He has the wealth of experience and the training to step into this position and to be successful in leading a very complex organization,” he said.

Tony’s predecessor could not agree more.

“He’s very passionate and just really wants the best for this job and the men and women in this department,” said outgoing Chief Olehy.

But Olehy notes it won’t be a cake walk.

“I think he’s going to be challenged in the political side of it’s a constant fight with money and budgets and everybody’s fighting for the same few dollars,” he added.

But Olehy says he is confident his once Assistant Chief is up for the fight.

“And he’s not afraid to fight the hard fight when he needs to do it,” said Olehy.

Andy Weber

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