A special City Council meeting scheduled for tonight to present councilors with the proposed contract for incoming Fire Chief Eric Smith has been cancelled, according to a memo issued today by Mayor Carolyn Kirk.
The cancellation comes a day after some city councilors raised questions regarding whether Smith's leadership experience as a deputy chief and battalion chief in Westland, Mich., qualifies him for the post under the city's chief search ordinance.
Kirk's memo states that she was anxious to bring the appointment forward because the "recent turmoil in the Fire Department," but asked to reschedule the hearing to allow council subcommittees enough time to review the contract and appointment.
"So as not to rush the process and the ... reviews the administration whish to cancel tonight's special meeting of the City Council,"
Smith's appointment is subject to council approval, and if given, he'll start on July 1. The council, according to Kirk's memo, will now receive the appointment and the contract, which Smith has signed, next Tuesday, with a confirmation vote on June 26.
As reported in today's Times, the city's search ordinance requires that the city's next chief have three years' experience serving as a "deputy chief of higher." Smith's resume indicates that he has served as a deputy in Westland for the last year, and as a battalion chief for just a year prior to that after previously serving as a captain.
Tuesday night, Kirk stood by her choice of Smith, and a member of the city's search committee said the city's search consulting firm, Municipal Resources Inc., had indicated that Smith's application was valid, with "equivalent" experience. MRI officials, however, declined comment.
We will update this story here at gloucestertimes.com as any new information becomes available. To have a text update on this story and other local Breaking news and Sports coverage sent to your mobile phone, just sign up for the Times' free text-alert service on the glloucestertimes.com homepage.
For more on this story, look to tomorrow's print and online editions of the Gloucester Daily Times and gloucestertimes.com.
Steven Fletcher may be contacted at 1-978-283-7000 x3455, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @stevengdt.