Over two thirds or more than 26,000 Stamford residents voted in favor of Charter Question #2 which will create the position of a single citywide fire chief overseeing the cities six different fire departments. This marks the first major change to the city’s fire service since the Town of Stamford and the City of Stamford merged 63 years ago in 1949.
A total of 39,324 people voted on this Charter item, with 66.4% of residents voting “yes” for the revision. The tally was 26,112 (66.4%) in favor and just 13,212 (33.6%) against the change.
Under the new structure there will be a clear fire service chain of command and a single set of training standards for all of Stamford’s career and volunteer fire fighters.
Since 2008 the Glenbrook Volunteer Fire Department has shared its firehouse and worked successfully side-by-side with Stamford Fire and Rescue Department fire fighters. That same success and growth is expected with the changes implemented by Charter Item 2. The approval of this charter revision also creates the citywide positions of Assistant Chief for Volunteer Services and citywide Fire Marshal. Several expert studies conducted, dating back to the administration of Mayor Stanley Esposito (R – 1991-1995), advised modernization of the city’s fire department management structure.
“An overwhelming majority of Stamfordites recognized a need to modernize our city’s fire and emergency medical delivery service, which had been a holdover organization from a bygone era,” said Brendan Keatley, President of the Stamford Professional Fire Fighters Association which supported Charter #2. “All fire fighters want to make sure that the citizens of Stamford receive the highest level of fire protection or medical service as quickly as possible. All of our fire fighters look forward to expanding the great collaborative success for public safety achieved in Glenbrook, but to do so on a citywide basis.”
Charter Revision changes go into effect in 30 days or by December 6. In the coming weeks, chiefs of the Big 5 volunteer companies will nominate candidates from among themselves to be considered for the city’s full-time paid Assistant Chief of Volunteer Services position.