The Village of Scotia does not yet have a timeline for when it will hire a new fire chief, and that is expected to be the case for at least one more week as officials discuss how and when the position will be filled.
The question some officials were asking at the Board of Trustees meeting Wednesday, Oct. 8, is whether they can hire before a civil service test is completed in January. In a 3-to-2 vote, the answer was no.
Trustees Carol Carpenter and Armon Benny, who are running for re-election this November on the Republican ticket, and Trustee Tom Neals, voted against hiring before the exam. Mayor Kris Kastberg and Deputy Mayor Joe Rizzo voted in favor.
The village has already determined it will hire a chief from within the department, following a Schenectady County Civil Service decision made earlier this month.
`See, this is the problem, if we wait until the test is taken, we are looking at another six months,` said Kastberg, who argued that the civil service promotional exam cannot be administered before January, and then test results can take up to three months before they are available.
Kastberg had asked the board to at least allow the interview process to begin, with the hiring a chief on a provisional basis, assuming the hired person passes the exam.
According to officials, there are at least four candidates within the department who have expressed an interest in the chief’s position.
Carpenter expressed concern over pulling someone off regular duty before hiring a permanent replacement. Village officials are also looking at when they will be able to hire and return the fire department to a 12-person model. Placing a firefighter in the chief’s position would take away an additional firefighter, reducing staffing to a 10-man model.
`Before permanently filling that position, we need to look at how we will be able to replace that person, `said Carpenter.
Board members who voted against the proposal also expressed concerns over the possibility of the hired chief not passing the exam.
The village has now been without a permanent chief since the spring when then Chief Richard Kasko resigned to take a position with GE Global Research.
In other fire business, the village is hoping the town of Glenville awards its fire District No. 4 jurisdiction to Scotia, as in past years. The town is looking at options that includes entering into a contract with other neighboring fire departments.
Kastberg said he met with Glenville officials last week to discuss continuing the contract with the town. He also said the town is taking steps to survey District No. 4 residents to see if they would prefer to have volunteer fire department.
`The department has provided a stable service to the District 4 area,` said Kastberg.“