Applicants pour in for Stockbridge fire chief position

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STOCKBRIDGE — The opening for a new fire chief in town is attracting an outpouring of applicants — 17 so far.

The search that began two weeks ago has yielded three applications from Berkshire County, four from elsewhere in Massachusetts and 10 from out of state, Town Administrator Danielle Fillio told The Eagle.

The out-of-state applicants are from Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina and West Virginia.

The salary range has not been disclosed, but former Fire Chief Ernest "Chuckie" Cardillo was earning $63,273 when he was dismissed last month amid criticism for purchasing excessive supplies for the department.

Citing typical guidelines for public sector job searches, the identity of the applicants will remain confidential until the town's search committee identifies several finalists.

Although the opening is for a full-time professional chief, the job posting states that the position is open to negotiation and that a part-time arrangement is possible.

The Select Board voted 2-0 last month to appoint a screening committee to evaluate potential candidates. Cardillo, who also is a selectman, recused himself from the vote.

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The committee includes Pittsfield Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski; Great Barrington Fire Chief Charles Burger; Stockbridge Planning Board member Wayne Slosek; part-time resident Marion Gardner-Saxe, former director of human resources at the Boston Symphony Orchestra; and Town Moderator Gary Johnston. Resident Bronly Boyd is an alternate member.

Minimum requirements for a successful applicant include a high school diploma or a GED, although a bachelor's degree in fire science is preferred. Also required: five years of experience as a firefighter, three years as an officer and strong supervisory skills for the all-volunteer department, as described in a detailed, three-page job description adopted by the town in November 2012.

The position also involves physically hazardous functions under emergency conditions. Requirements also include "imagination, innovation and judgment relating to planning and achieving department goals" along with financial management skills.

The job posting states that the position is governed by the "strong chief" provisions of the state law, which includes purchasing authority, subject to Select Board approval, hiring and firing power over a deputy and firefighters, and "full and absolute authority in the administration of the department," as well as determining all rules and regulations for its operation.

On Feb. 5, Select Board Chairman Donald Chabon and member Terry Flynn voted to dismiss Cardillo over his verbal authorization of excess and overpriced supplies from the vendors that cost the town about $83,000.

Anticipating a lawsuit by Cardillo to get his job back, the proposed town budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year doubles the line item for litigation expenses to $100,000, in addition to the $42,000 annual retainer for Town Counsel J. Raymond Miyares.

After Cardillo's dismissal, up to 15 volunteers resigned. Currently, according to interim Chief Neil Haywood, the department has 15 members, and recruiting is underway to restore the ranks to 20 available responders.

Clarence Fanto can be reached at cfanto@yahoo.com, on Twitter@ BE_cfanto or at 413-637-2551.


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