Millo seeks fire chief position 

Wednesday, August 30, 2000


SHELTON - Acting Fire Chief John Millo is among three people who have applied for the vacant position of fire chief, a post that was ordered vacated by a Superior Court judge two months ago.

Ken Nappi, chairman of the Board of Fire Commissioners, said Tuesday that seven people applied for an assistant chief job opening. The department has four assistant chiefs, but the commission could change that number.

"I think we have a healthy number of applications," Nappi said regarding the chief and assistant chief jobs. "We will now forward the applications to the city's Personnel Department."

Millo said this week that he had applied for the job. The names of the other two applicants were not revealed by Nappi, who said the information was confidential.

Millo served as chief for about a year and a half. But in June, Judge George W. Ripley ruled that the position had to be vacated and a new testing procedure devised to determine his successor. 

Ripley had ruled that the appointments of Millo and Assistant Fire Chiefs Justin Sabatino and Stephen Nesteriak in December 1998 were invalid.

Last year, seven firefighters filed a lawsuit against the city and the fire commissioners, alleging that the testing was conducted improperly. They charged that the rules were changed in midstream, since none of the three men had passed the written exam for the positions and that the verbal portion then became open to all applicants.

The defendants said only one individual, Soren Ibsen, passed the written exam for both chief and assistant chief and that they were looking for a larger pool of candidates.

Ripley sided with the plaintiffs, ruling that the commission could legally have voided the tests, but instead opted to change the rules, a choice he said at the time, "smacks of unfairness."

The terms of the chief and the four assistant chiefs were set to expire June 30, just days after the ruling. The board voted 4 to 1 to appoint Millo as acting chief. All four assistant chiefs also were appointed in an acting capacity.

A new testing procedure adopted recently by the commission calls for an oral exam and an interview. But a written exam is no longer part of the process, according to Nappi.

The job descriptions also have been modified.

Millo said he believes he has done a good job as chief and would like to continue for three more years, the length of the new term.

"We've recruited new members - both male and female - during the last year and a half," Millo said.

"Now, I would really like to upgrade some of our equipment," he said.

Joe Musante, who covers Shelton, can be reached at 736-5440.