Extension of chief’s term is under study

The Princeton Packet

20 March, 1986

Extension of chief’s term is under study

By Marjorie Snyder

Staff Writer

A committee of fire officials is considering the possible extension of the Princeton fire chief’s term of office.

Members of the three fire departments in Princeton met Wednesday to discuss whether a fire chief should -serve more than one year, according to Fire Chief Peter Hodge. A committee of former fire chiefs will now weigh the various options and then make recommendations to the Board of Engineers. which is represented by the three fire companies.

The three fire companies — all Of them located in Princeton Borough — are Engine No. I on Chestnut Street, Engine No. 3 on Chambers Street. and Hook & Ladder & Chemical Co. No. 1 on North Harrison Street.

At a meeting Wednesday. fire-fighters tossed around “half a doz-en ideas of what they felt should be considered by the committee,” Mr. Hodge said.

The discussion stems from recommendations made in a report issues by fire protection engineer Thomas W. Shand to Princeton Borough and Township officials. The Shand report was presented in February 1985.

Among the suggestions made by Mr. Shand was the lengthening of to fire chief’s term from one year ) two years.

The extension was suggested be-cause programs initiated by a new chief usually begin to show results by the end of the term, according to the report. The last few months are spent as a “lame duck administrator,” preparing the fire department budget for the next year, the report noted.

By the time a chief becomes familiar with the position, and might make necessary changes, “the natural tendency becomes to not upset the ‘status, quo’, consequently the department does not progress.” the Shand report said.

Chief Hodge said any decision would take effect after his term expires Dec. 31 of this year.

After it makes a decision. The Board of Engineers will present a report to the Princeton Joint Fire Commission, which has the final say, according to Mr. Hodge.

It is uncertain when the commit-tee will meet again. But. according to former Fire Chief Thomas Hagadorn. “it certainly is not something that will be decided overnight.” He said there will be “quite a few meetings.” before a decision is made.

Although he would not comment specifically about the meeting, the former chief said discussion is “moving along.”

“We had come up with this feeling before the report.” Mr. Hagadorn said. “It proved our concerns back four years ago.”

Leave a Reply