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(COLUMBIA, MO) - City of Columbia City Manager De'Carlon Seewood has named Clayton Farr Jr. as the next fire chief of the Columbia Fire Department (CFD).  Farr was identified as the top candidate after a nationwide recruitment and search process conducted by SGR consulting company.

"During our competitive search process to fill the position of fire chief, Farr stood out as the best fit for the position due to his extensive experience in the fire service and his progressive leadership within the Columbia Fire Department," City Manager De'Carlon Seewood said. "I feel having continuity of leadership as Farr steps into the permanent role will be incredibly beneficial to the women and men of the Columbia Fire Department. His vision for the Department aligns with the quality and standards the City and its residents expect from its leaders."

Farr has been serving in an interim role since September.

Farr will be sworn in as fire chief at the Nov. 7 City Council meeting at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers in City Hall, 701 E. Broadway.

Farr is a participant of the City's Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP). Under the DROP, eligible participants can accrue a savings of normal retirement benefits while still working for the City of Columbia to be collected upon retirement. Members can accrue those savings for a five-year period.

The City Manager's Office will review the structure of the pension plans offered by the City and how those plans align with the City's recruitment and retention goals for both Police and Fire Departments.

Farr has worked in fire and emergency services for 30 years and has been with the Columbia Fire Department since 1998.  During that time, he has been promoted through the ranks, having worked as a firefighter, assistant fire marshal, lieutenant, battalion chief, division chief/shift commander and as assistant fire chief. He has also worked as a fire investigator for the Columbia Police Department, Boone County Sheriff's Office and the Southern Boone County Fire Protection District. He has also assisted the Mid-Missouri Bomb Squad since its inception more than 15 years ago.

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"2022 marks my 30th year serving others in our community and helping to ensure the safety of our citizens," Farr said.  "Throughout my career, I have successfully operated in each of our department's four divisions as well as with local, state and federal fire and law enforcement partners, giving me tremendous insight as our department navigates the many challenges we face and also great excitement for the many opportunities which lie ahead."

During his time at the Columbia Fire Department, he has been responsible for managing members assigned to the emergency services division, the overall management of the department's training division, community risk reduction division, employee retention, recruitment, diversity, equity and inclusion efforts and currently serves as the department's public information officer, social media coordinator and records custodian.

Farr attended the University of Missouri and Columbia College, majoring in electrical engineering and business administration, respectively.

Chief Farr holds numerous certifications through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Missouri Peace Officer Standards of Training, Missouri Department of Public Safety and International Fire Service Training Association and has successfully completed several courses where supervision and management-level skills, conflict-resolution and decision-making were developed and refined.  He has training and experience in numerous areas of public safety such as maintaining his Missouri licensed peace officer status for the past 28 years, numerous state and federal certifications in emergency incident management, as well as officer, instructor, inspector and investigator disciplines. His experience, poise and his ability to engage with our community members as well as other public safety agencies make him the ideal candidate to move into the role of fire chief.

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In addition to his work at CFD, Farr is an active member of the community and has served as a mentor to local youth, including members of local church groups, the local Boys and Girls Club as well as the Community Scholars Program.  As part of his work to better the local community, Farr is currently working with Columbia Public Schools on the development of a public safety curriculum to be taught at the Columbia Area Career Center to all Boone County high school students. This curriculum would allow high school students to receive public safety certifications in fire, emergency medical services, law enforcement, 911 center operations and nursing fields, allowing them to enter these fields as well-rounded and prepared employees. Farr is also a member of Second Missionary Baptist Church of Columbia.

"I am truly humbled and very excited for this amazing opportunity to serve our community as your fire chief,'' Farr said.  "I work alongside a first-class group of women and men who compose your Columbia Fire Department and have tremendous respect for the amazing work they selflessly perform each day, giving back to the community through their work."

Farr said as he moves into the position of fire chief, his vision will include focusing on decisions that will improve the safety of Columbia's residents.

"As I move into this position, it is my goal to continue seeking opportunities to expand the fire department with additional fire stations and personnel so we are prepared to have a greater impact in meeting our citizens' needs in a more timely manner.  I want our department to be innovative in our delivery of training, not only internally, but also to our citizens and ensure our staff has the right apparatus and equipment to respond to an ever-increasing volume and complexity of emergency incidents," Farr said.

Filed Under: Government, City

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