No rush on hiring Scotia's next fire chief

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.

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