By Joe Beck
Frank Wright, Winchester's former fire and rescue chief, is back on the job, at least for now.
City officials announced Wright's appointment Monday as interim chief while they continue searching for a permanent replacement for Scott Cullers, who retired Feb. 23.
Wright, 57, was chief from 2005 until his retirement in 2010. He began his career in 1972 as a volunteer with the Shawnee Fire Company. The city hired him as a dispatcher in 1974 and made him a career firefighter in 1975.
City Manager Dale Iman said he is "confident that Frank has not been out of the position too long to understand the issues. He will be able to step right in and keep the ship floating and heading in the right direction during this interim position."
Wright said he is pleased to be rejoining the department, but will not be among those applying for the permanent job.
"I'm excited about the opportunity to work with people in this community again," he said. "Obviously, it's going to take me a couple of days to get caught up again."
Iman said he made the decision to hire Wright after speaking to several people in the community and Wright. He said the hiring of Wright instead of someone currently working in the department would ensure "a level playing field" for all internal candidates who apply for the job.
Iman said he hoped to have the position filled permanently over the next two to three months. Applications have been arriving since the position was advertised two weeks ago, he said.
Iman said the job is being advertised heavily in Virginia and a few national municipal and firefighter publications.
He said he and Wright agreed on a salary of $5,000 a month with no benefits, except for a city vehicle that can be used during work hours.
Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or firstname.lastname@example.org