It's certainly understandable for Gloucester firefighters to have wanted acting chief and longtime deputy Steve Aiello to get the job as the city's next permanent chief. They have, after all, worked with him in the past and present, and feel confident they would have worked well with him in the future.
But the fact that Mayor Carolyn Kirk chose Westland, Mich., Deputy Chief Eric Smith for the post over Aiello and Falmouth Deputy Glen Rogers is no reason for firefighters to send a formal letter to Kirk asserting she had "no valid reason" to make such a choice. Indeed, the firefighters' union is way off base to naively state that "we see no valid reason for Mayor Kirk to select a candidate from out of town, except that perhaps she feels that because Eric Smith comes from 'over the bridge,' he will bring change and ideas."
With all due respect to Aiello, the chance to hire a chief who's helped lead a department serving a city of 84,000 and kept four stations operating with a firefighters' roster smaller than Gloucester's bodes well for the city and residents, who deserve better safety coverage without taxpayers pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars down a black hole and into the firefighters' overtime account.
In its letter, the union also pledges to work "cooperatively" and "diligently" with Smith.
It had better. There are a lot of names on the department's hiring list if current firefighters don't want to be part of what Kirk has called a "new-model" Gloucester Fire Department.