‘This Is Not a Best Practice’: Fire Commission Pushes Back on Removal of Funding for Assistant Chief
Saying it’s a matter of public safety, members of the municipal body that oversees the New Canaan Fire Department are calling for the town to re-add funding for an assistant chief position in the agency. The Board of Selectmen following a back-and-forth with Fire Chief Albe Bassett removed a request for $121,000 in salary for the full-time assistant chief position in January, during the first major phase of the fiscal year 2025 budget process. (The job would also come with a benefits package that town Human Resources officials put at about 40% of the salary.)
After Bassett submitted a memo to the Board of Selectmen saying he could try to make do with $71,000 in overtime that would go to line officers in lieu of the full-time assistant chief, the selectmen did add a $50,000 overtime line item to the Fire Department’s budget (which still must be approved by the Board of Finance and Town Council). In the memo, obtained by NewCanaanite.com through a public records request, Bassett listed five duties that cannot be filled by line officers “on a 24/7 basis.” They include representing the chief as needed, supervising the other line officers, HR functions such as negotiations, budget-related work and fire marshal duties. Members of the Fire Commission during a special meeting held Feb.