Eric Smith, the Westland, Mich., fire deputy who is poised to become Gloucester's new fire chief, has signed a three-year contract for $113,548 a year. He is prepared to start work July 1, pending confirmation by the City Council.
Mayor Carolyn Kirk, who announced Smith's agreement to the pact Friday, selected Smith from among three finalists for the position. The other finalists were Acting Fire Chief Steven Aiello and Falmouth Deputy Fire Chief Glen Rogers.
If Smith's appointment is confirmed by City Council, he will be the first permanent chief the city has hired outside of state Civil Service, and the first chief in the modern era to be named from outside Gloucester. He will also become the city's first permanent chief since Barry McKay stepped down in March 2009. Phil Dench had served as interim chief from 2009 through February of this year, when he, too, retired.
Smith's expected confirmation would conclude a more than nine-month search for a fire chief.
Smith's contract gives him a yearly salary of $133,548.05, at step 8 on a 12-step pay scale under a restructuring of several city administrative positions approved by City Council earlier this spring.
Kirk's current budget proposal has the position pegged for $115,000.
Unlike Civil Service chiefs, Smith can be terminated by the mayor for three reasons — a breach of his contract, a case in which he's incapable for 90 days of performing his duties as chief, and finally, if Kirk finds just cause to remove him from his position.
Under the pending contract, if Kirk decides to fire Smith for any reason other than those three, the city owes him severance pay of either a year's salary or the rest of his contracted term, whichever is less.
The contract also provides Smith $10,000 in moving expenses, a city vehicle, a cell phone, uniform stipend and a laptop computer.
Smith comes into the department with a union contract already settled, a document he has said he's going to study over his first few weeks. The union's contract runs until June 30, 2013.
"The administration didn't want the new chief stepping into an unsettled contract headed for arbitration," Kirk said.
Kirk said she will call for a special meeting of City Council next week to receive Smith's contract. After that, the appointment heads to the Ordinance and Administration subcommittee, then back to the council for a final vote.
Steven Fletcher may be contacted at 1-978-283-7000 x3455, or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @stevengdt.