RFD Adds 15 to Its Ranks

It was a crowded house at the City Council Chambers last Thursday as 15 new firefighters raised their right hands and took the oath. Eight of the firefighters were hired with a federal Stimulus grant, while seven of them filled existing vacancies. Fire Chief Gene Doherty said that the new ap¬pointments will most likely end the practice of having to close stations on a rolling basis, and will also curtail large overtime expenditures.

The reinforcements have been called in at the Revere Fire Department, with the City swearing in 15 new firefighters last Thursday in a ceremony that brought out so many people that there was literally nowhere to sit, stand or move in the City Council Chambers.

All 15 raised their hands simultaneously and repeated the oath given to them by City Clerk Ashley Melnik, and at the same time Fire Chief Gene Doherty breathed a sigh of relief.

The 15 new firefighters – hired mostly on the dime of a federal SAFER Grant – will most likely end the practice of having to close fire stations on a rolling basis, as has been done for the past few years.

It will also stop the phenomenal drain of overtime money from the department’s coffers this year.

“This will certainly stop the bleeding when it comes to our overtime budget,” the chief told the Journal.

Mayor Tom Ambrosino said that the $250,000 overtime budget was being used up at a rate of $10,000 per week, which obviously wasn’t sustainable.

“We were running through that budget quickly,” he said, “although the expectation has always been that we would hire these officers before the end of the year. Still, the weekly overtime expenditure will be significantly, if not entirely, eliminated. There still will be some overtime used, but it will certainly curtail the $10,000 per week we have been spending.”

The 15 firefighters are currently in training at the department, but they will not be able to attend the Fire Academy until January. Unlike the police department, though, they will be permitted to work on a limited basis and serve some very important roles until January.

One of the remarkable things about the new hirings is that many of the new firefighters are the sons and grandchildren of former and current Revere Firefighters.

With a laugh, Doherty told everyone at the ceremony that there wasn’t any nepotism going on, but rather just a Civil Service list that contained a lot of people with Revere Fire connections.

“I gave the list to the mayor and he looked at the names and said, ‘Are you kidding me?’” said Doherty with a laugh. “There are a lot of familiar names on that list, but I assure this is no case of nepotism.”

Ambrosino said that no one on the Civil Service list was bypassed, and that the list did contain mostly 2nd and 3rd generation firefighters.

Those sworn in were:

Joseph Dusvitch, William Capuano, Michael Ferragamo, Justin Lally, Steven Mullen, David Stankovski, Gregg Bowen, Sean Griffin, Stephen Viviano, Michael Amore, William Churchill, Michael Conley Jr., Michael DiGiovanni, Richard Laurano, and Michael O’Hara.

One hired firefighter, Robert Croce, declined appointment to the contingent at the last minute in favor of another public safety opportunity.

In addition to the new firefighters, four current firefighters were promoted.

They were Deputy Chief Glen Rich, Capt. Robert Fortuna, Lt. Mark Wolfgang, and Lt. Carl Holmberg.

One police officer was also promoted during the ceremony.

Det. Maria LaVita was promoted to sergeant.

On that same note, Ambrosino said that the City is ready to start hiring police officers, and they have a federal grant that will allow them to hire four officers and they also have six vacancies.

“We are now looking to hire police,” he said. “There is a new Civil Service list coming out on Nov. 1st and we’ve requested it and we’ll be vetting people from that list through November and December. The new mayor will be able to hire them and take part in that process.”

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