The city’s long, drawn-out search for its next fire chief could come to an end later this month.
That’s because three candidates vying for the job recently completed the chief’s test, and may be interviewed during a special meeting of the Board of Fire Commissioners, scheduled for 7 p.m. Oct. 18 at . If the issue, however, ends up being tabled for one reason or another, commissioners said they may conduct the interviews at its next regularly scheduled monthly meeting in November.
Those who applied for the chief’s job this time around, which pays an annual salary of $15,000, are former Assistant Chief Mike Ullrich, former Fire Chief Fran Jones and Assistant Chief Paul Wilson.
Ullrich, as many may recall, was the board’s unanimous choice for the chief’s job earlier this year. The board actually recommended Ullrich two times for consideration to Mayor Mark A. Lauretti. Ullrich was one of two candidates who applied for the job when the search began late last year, and was the top scorer on the chief’s test.
, once in May, and again in June, only saying that Ullrich is “incompatible.” Lauretti has said he would not “get into personalities” over the matter.
Lauretti, as mayor, and under the City Charter, has the authority to accept or reject the board’s recommendation for chief.
Aldermanic President John Anglace had said a while back when the aldermen were asked by Ullrich himself and Alderman Jack Finn to investigate Lauretti’s repeated rejection of Ullrich that
So rather than recommend Ullrich a third time, figuring Lauretti would likely shoot them down again, the board, in August, opted to re-open the hiring process. Several weeks after that, the three candidates emerged and took the chief’s test. Ullrich, once again, attained the highest score.
Ullrich is a 23-year veteran of the Shelton volunteer fire department, and commissioners had said he was the best candidate for the job.
Jones resigned last November, leaving the department’s four assistant fire chiefs in charge of the daily operations, who have been performing the duties on a weekly, rotating schedule. Jones has not said why he opted to go for the chief’s job again.
In related news, the vacancy for a full-time deputy fire marshal still remains open, although two candidates have applied and tested for the job. Fire Commissioner Ben McGorty and volunteer firefighter Robert Albert are the two candidates seeking the position.