At a special Board of Fire Commissioners meeting held last night in , Tim Hongo was chosen to be Shelton's Deputy Chief. This is the first time the department has ever named someone to the position. The final decision for the appointment now goes to Mayor Mark Lauretti.
Three candidates applied for the job and the selection process consisted of two rounds of interviews. First, they went through a "technical oral" interview with a three-panel board of deputy chiefs from surrounding towns. They were graded and ranked based on their answers, then sat down with the Fire Commissioners, who reviewed their qualifications and years of service.
Hongo, who has been with the for 26 years, said he feels prepared to take on the role of Deputy Chief.
"I was a past captain and past assistant chief so doing the deputy job isn't going to be anything that's really different for me. I've done the job as an assistant and have worn that hat," he said.
Fire Chief Fran Jones said Hongo's main responsibilities will be dealing with the health and safety of the department as a whole.
"He has a lot of duties. He'll be responsible for our respiratory protection plan and our medical monitoring program. He'll be second in command of the fire department," Jones said.
"Right now his [Jones'] biggest concern for me is to be in charge of safety," Hongo added. "That's going to cover physicals for the firefighters, apparatus, maintenance and care, and anything else that may deal with the health and well-being of the members."
If Lauretti OK's the Board's choice, this will be the first time Shelton has had a Deputy Chief. Jones said that for the last 20 or so years, assistant chiefs have acted in the deputy role, but this marks the first time the city has had an official job description and placement for that role.
"It had been proposed for about four or five years and it's coming to fruition now, and our command structure will be complete. We'll have chief, deputy chief, four assistant chiefs, a training coordinator and a recruitment officer," Jones said, adding that he is "absolutely excited."
"I'm looking forward to working with the Board and the mayor and the Shelton Fire Department as a whole and moving us forward as a unit," Hongo said. "We are one the largest volunteer departments in the state and I think this is going to be a good thing."