After an interview session and then a unanimous vote, the Shelton Board of Fire Commissioners announced Fran Jones as their recommendation for Fire Chief at a special meeting Tuesday night in . Their decision now gets punted up to the aldermen for approval.
The three candidates vying for the job were Jones, Mike Ullrich and Paul Wilson. All three had passed the written test for qualification and then had one-on-one interviews with the Board during executive session.
After months of back and forth between the Fire Commissioners and the Board of Aldermen, with the commissioners' choice of Ullrich in May and in June, Jones said he is happy the is moving forward.
"The politics of the past year is what held up the process," Jones said. With Chris Jones running against Lauretti for mayor this year, "it caused a little friction."
Fran Jones said that regardless of politics, "the mayor supports the fire department and always has. He recently assigned Assistant Chief [Nicholas] Verdicchio to oversee the process of updating our radio system. We are working directly with the administration."
Jones added that it will still be a year or two before the new communication system is fully installed and in place, "but we are definitely on the right path."
Chuck Sutton, chairman of the Board of Fire Commissioners, thanked the trio who applied for the position, adding that the decision was not "cut and dry" as some people might assume.
"You are all very well qualified," Sutton said. "it was a tough decision because everybody was very, very well spoken."
Jones was Fire Chief but quit in November 2009. The seat has been vacant ever since. When asked why he decided to reapply for his job, Jones simply said things have changed for the better within the fire department.
"With a new board of fire commissioners and a lot of teamwork and cooperation we can move the department forward," Jones said.