A New Chapter has Begun

If you are a long time reader of these pages you know that for the last 7 years along with being pastor of St. Michael’s Church I also serve as chaplain to the Dudley Fire Department.  I love my work as chaplain and I have learned many things that also cross over into the parish.  There was a time that if it was not for the ministry in fire department I really do not know if I would have stayed in ministry.

During that time I have been getting involved more in the running of the fire department, working the in the training division and getting certified in various other tasks around the fire house.  Just this past week I finished phase one of the certification process for wild land firefighter and I look forward to phase 2.

Back on December 31st, the Fire Chief retired and we were left without a chief.  In the normal course of events an acting or interim chief would have been named the same day the chief retired so there would be continuity.  This is important in the fire service as it is in most any field.  Leadership is important in the parish as well as in the fire house.  The leader sets the tone and everything that is done is based on that tone and vision.

The Board of Selectman tasked the ranking captain with oversight of the fire department in January and worked to find a short term solution.  The Fire Chief’s job has been posted in case anyone is interested in applying…  Last night the Board of Selectman appointed me as Chief Administrative Officer of the Dudley Fire Department. 

The Fire Department (any fire department) basically has two sections administrative and operations.  In large cities there are often chief officers that handle these different aspects of the fire service.  In the City of Boston for example there is a Fire Commissioner that handles all the admin stuff and deals with the political leaders.  He sets policy and the budget.  The Fire Chief and his deputies, handle the operational part of the fire department, that is what happens in an emergency.  The position I was appointed to is more in line with the fire commissioner I will have no operational command authority.  Actually I will stay in my role as chaplain in an emergency.

This is a temporary measure only until the new chief is hired.  My first task is to create the budget for the coming year and last Friday the Governor announced at 7% cut in local aid (that is the money the cities and towns in Massachusetts receive from the State) so my first job is to cut the budget!

I have written before about how important public safety is and how important it is to keep things at the present level of staffing.  The Dudley Fire Department has 6 full time firefighters plus the chief and the rest are on call folks who have to come from their homes.  The fire station is also only staffed from 7am to 6pm.  After 6pm both the fire and ambulance folks have to come from home to respond to fire calls.  This is the reality that we all work in.

So please pray for me as I begin this new chapter in my life, pray for the folks at the fire house as well I am not sure they know what they are in for…  LOL

1 Comment

  1. don't you worry about things until they come..your a smart man and you can handle this job with no sweat…you can do this and i know you will do a great job beacause you care and that makes all the difference.
    you go fr…..

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