Norwich Fire Department to have rotating acting chiefs
Norwich — With the retirement of 13-year Norwich Fire Department Chief Kenneth Scandariato, the department’s four battalion chiefs will start a rotation on two-week assignments as acting chief.
Scandariato’s official last day was Thursday. City Manager John Salomone has worked out written agreements with the four battalion chiefs to rotate into the position until a permanent chief is selected.
The rotation begins with Battalion Chief Tracy Montoya, a 27-year veteran Norwich firefighter. Montoya was promoted to battalion chief in July 2007, the longest term of the four current battalion chiefs. Following his initial two-week term, 20-year veteran firefighter Keith Wucik will take the reins. Wucik was promoted to battalion chief in November 2016.
Six-year Battalion Chief Greg Despathy, a 26-year Norwich firefighter, will be third in the rotation, followed by Scott Merchant, a 20-year veteran Norwich firefighter, promoted to battalion chief two years ago.
The rotation could repeat if the selection of a new chief is not ready.
Salomone said the job description for the chief’s position is being rewritten and the position should be posted soon both internally and outside the department. Scandariato was the first chief to be hired from outside the department, appointed as Norwich chief in January 2005 after having served as North Providence fire marshal.
In January 2017, Scandariato also was named director of emergency management following the unexpected death of longtime Director Gene Arters. He retained that position and led the effort to revamp the emergency management facility on McKinley Avenue and revive the dormant Community Emergency Response Team.
Salomone said last week the new fire chief job description will include emergency management director as a permanent dual role for the fire chief.
“I think that’s worked well,” Salomone said.
Stories that may interest you
Arrests by state police and local departments around the region.
Two men were involved in a verbal altercation that later became physical.
Dezmond Spaulding, 16, is described as a Hispanic male with red hair and brown eyes. He is 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs about 125 pounds. He was last seen wearing a black hat with red trim, a red tank top, gray sweatpants and maroon sneakers.
Police are seeking the public's help in locating Craig Cross, described as a black male with black hair and brown eyes, 6 feet 1 inch tall and weighing 210 pounds. Police did not provide a description of his clothing.