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Search for new Scotia fire chief begins

It was four years ago that the village of Scotia found its fire chief outside village lines. In fact, Richard Kasko, who left the position last week, came all the way from Texas.

Now, once again facing a vacancy in the fire chief's position, the village is looking at all of its options, including those within the department.

President of the Scotia Permanent Firefighter's Association Ken Almy said that they are open to looking both in and out of the village, as long as the person is qualified for the job.

Mayor (Kris) Kastberg has assured us that our input will be part of the process of replacing Chief Kasko, said Almy.

Also at issue are recent discussions about whether a full-time chief is even necessary.

Almy, along with many community members and firefighters, spoke out at several meetings just months ago to fight for Kasko's position, saying that an actual manager is needed for the fire department to run efficiently. The position was under scrutiny as town officials hammered out a budget.

Since then, Kastberg and other members of the board have said the position is justified.

"We are no longer looking at outsourcing management needs. We will conduct a search to find someone that is a good match for the department, as well as the village," said Kastberg.

Kasko said that his decision to leave was not based on the recent controversy over his job but instead because of an opportunity for a position in the private sector.

Kasko has faced scrutiny over scheduling, overtime pay, sick pay and other budget issues, but, he said, despite these issues he will miss his time spent in the firehouse.

"I loved these people that I got the chance to work with, and I am proud of what I accomplished while working for the village," said Kasko.

Almy said that under the village law, volunteer Chief Jim Nevins will assume the duties of fire chief until the position is filled. He said that right now there is no timeframe to fill the position that he is aware of. Almy also said he believes the process will take some time.

"We will continue to discuss filling the void temporarily as well as full-time," said Almy.

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