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Scotia fire chief resigns

Fire Chief Richard Kasko announced his resignation Thursday, June 12, to the Village of Scotia Board of Trustees. The news came just two months after he learned that funding for his position, which had been in limbo during budget discussions, would not be cut.

Earlier this spring, the village board considered outsourcing management needs for the department, but an outcry from residents helped restore the chief's job.

Village Mayor Kris Kastberg said village officials were not aware that the chief was looking at other opportunities. He said the community will miss Kasko's dedication.

I did not know that the chief was moving on, but he was recruited and got a better offer elsewhere. While in Scotia, he made significant strides in improving relations and cooperation with neighboring departments, said Kastberg.

Kastberg said that Kasko also played a major role in the Emergency Management System central command and instituted several initiatives to improve the department.

Kasko could not be reached before press time for comment regarding his resignation, which is effective June 21.

In the midst of budget talks this spring during which the chief's position was being debated, Kasko was praised for his department's work on two major fires in the village. However, over the years, Kasko was often criticized for overtime costs and other budget issues.

The village plans to meet to discuss when and how it will fill the position, which has a salary budgeted at $70,000 under the Scotia-Glenville 2008-2009 village budget.

Kasko came from Texas in 2004 to run the fire department, which consists of both full-time and volunteer firefighters. In addition to his duties as chief, he also oversaw the fire-training program that specializes in petroleum fires. Kasko also served the community as an assistant chief with the Stratton Air National Guard Base Fire Department and volunteered at the New York State Fire Academy in Montour Falls.

Village board trustee Armon Benny said the village will miss Kasko.

"I know the fire chief cared deeply for Scotia, Glenville and Schenectady County. I wish him the very best in his new career, and I sincerely hope he will remain an active member of the Scotia community," said Benny.""

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