After months of searching, Oak Bluffs has announced three finalists for its fire chief position, which has been vacant or filled on an interim basis for more than a year.

The finalists are Andrew M. Went, from Lincoln, R.I., William R. Choate from Lakeville and W.F. Nelson Wirtz from Brewster, according to an email from acting town administrator Wendy Brough.

Public interviews of the three candidates are slated for a selectmen’s meeting on Tuesday, April 6 at 5 p.m. The candidates will be interviewed in the order they are listed.

“All candidates meet the qualifications and experience for the position of Fire Chief,” Ms. Brough wrote in an email. “Thorough background reference checking was conducted, in which all three candidates returned excellent references.”

The Oak Bluffs fire and emergency services department has seen considerable turnover since the resignation of fire chief John Rose under pressure last winter. Deputy chief Shawn Broadley also resigned at the time, citing personal issues inside the department.

In the aftermath, Manuel (Manny) Rose led the department for a short period, before the town hired former Bourne fire chief Marty Greene on a six-month, interim basis in March of 2020. Since Mr. Greene’s departure, the town has tapped former Tisbury fire chief John Schilling and police chief Erik Blake to manage the firehouse, with Mr. Schilling running day-to-day operations and Mr. Blake handling administrative components of the job.

Meanwhile, Manny Rose was promoted to the permanent position of deputy fire chief last spring.

In January, selectmen voted to begin the search for a new chief with a committee that included the town administrator, Mr. Schilling and Mr. Blake. During the meeting, the group mulled criteria for the position, agreeing that candidates should have a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, administrative and budgetary experience, ten years of fire experience and five years in a command role, as well as EMS experience.

The search was not conducted by an outside recruitment agency.

The new fire chief interviews come at a critical moment for the town, as it also begins its search for a new town administrator after Bob Whritenour departed last week. Former assistant town administrator Wendy Brough is currently acting in the role.