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The Denver Gazette

New Aurora fire chief sworn in

By Jessica Gibbs,

Alec Oughton is sworn in as Aurora's fire chief on March 13, 2023.  Jessica Gibbs

The new fire chief for the City of Aurora has officially taken the helm of Aurora Fire Rescue. Alec Oughton was sworn in at the city council meeting Monday.

Following the ceremony, Oughton said he continues “to be impressed by the professionalism” and the enthusiasm for serving Aurora that he has seen among AFR personnel.

“I just can’t wait to be a part of that,” he said.

His base salary will be $210,000, a city spokesman said. As his first order of business, the new chief said he plans to meet with all of AFR’s staff to understand more about the department’s work. He has already learned about innovative and impressive programming, Oughton said.

Oughton made the move to Aurora this week ahead of his family, who will be finishing the school year back home, he said.

“For now, this is the only family I’ve got,” he said, gesturing to the lobby of City Hall filled with AFR employees.

The city council unanimously confirmed his appointment in January. Outgoing City Manager Jim Twombly selected him from a pool of four finalists and 36 applicants.

Oughton served as chief of the Henrico County, Virginia fire department for four years before coming to Aurora. He has spent 27 years in the fire service.

Oughton is an assessor for the Commission on Fire Accreditation International and serves as a board member for the Center for Public Safety Excellence.

Before climbing the ranks to chief, Oughton was a firefighter and paramedic. He also served as a field medical technician for the U.S. Naval Reserve. He has a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies.

The city council also appointed Jason Batchelor as the interim city manager on Monday.

Batchelor has been part of Twombly’s executive staff as the deputy city manager for eight years. In that role, he oversaw police, fire, planning and development services and information technology, according to the city’s website.

He served as the city’s finance director for roughly three years, as well as budget director for three years, before becoming deputy city manager, he said. Batchelor has worked with Aurora for approximately 15 years in total.

The drafted employment agreement listed Batchelor’s annual salary for the interim role as $274,500.

Before the city council meeting began, Batchelor said, “It’s an honor to lead the organization.” It’s not his first time in the role, either. He served as interim city manager for nearly a year before Twombly was selected for the permanent job, he said.

Twombly announced his retirement earlier this year, with his last day slated for early April. He assumed the position of city manager in 2018, and in all has worked 42 years in public service.

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