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Article updated: 2/19/2013 5:15 AM

Deputy chief picked to lead Aurora Fire Department

By Robert Sanchez

Aurora's deputy fire chief has been tapped by the mayor to become the department's next chief.

John Lehman, a 26-year veteran of the Aurora Fire Department, still must be confirmed next month by the city council.

Mayor Tom Weisner said in a statement released Monday that Lehman has "a proven track record of leadership."

Weisner and his staff chose Lehman to succeed former Chief Hal Carlson, who retired in November. Shortly after Carlson stepped down, officials said, three internal candidates were being considered.

"The knowledge and experience he (Lehman) gained coming up through the ranks make him the clear choice to become the next chief of Aurora's world-class fire department," Weisner said.

Lehman joined the department in 1987 after a two-year stint as a volunteer with the LaGrange Park Fire Department. He held a variety of positions with the Aurora department before becoming deputy chief in 2009.

As deputy chief, Lehman oversaw the Emergency Medical Services program, internal affairs and public information, and took a lead role in preparing and managing the fire department's $36 million budget officials said.

Lehman has been serving as Aurora's acting chief since Carlson's retirement.

"I am proud of the opportunity to lead such a great organization and am honored to serve as the 16th fire chief in the history of the Aurora Fire Department," Lehman said in a statement. "I have had many mentors, colleagues and friends who have influenced me during my career and when I fill this leadership role, it will be with all of them standing by my side."

Lehman has a bachelor's degree in fire service administration from the University of Southern Illinois along with numerous professional certifications. He is a fire service instructor who has coordinated and taught in the Command and Company Officer Program at the State Fire Academy since 2000, officials said.

Lehman's confirmation hearing with the city council is scheduled for March 12.

City officials said Lehman, who lives in Sugar Grove with his wife and their four daughters, has agreed to move into Aurora's city limits within 12 months of his confirmation.

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