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April 26, 2014

City has first fire chief since 2011

PLATTSBURGH — City councilors unanimously chose three new department heads Thursday night, including a fire chief.

“Appointing three new department heads is very exciting for the city and good news for the city,” Mayor James Calnon said.

“But it is also a bittersweet moment because we are saying goodbye to some who have been with us for such a long time.”

FIRE CHIEF

The council unanimously approved Randy Stone as the new fire chief.

Stone, 56, has been with the department since 1980. He served 18 years as a firefighter, three as a lieutenant, seven as a captain and six years as assistant chief.

“It’s been a long time coming, and it will be nice to eventually retire from the chief’s position,” he said.

He was chosen from a field of three that also included Scott Lawliss and Michael Edwards, both from within the department.

The Fire Department has been without a chief since Paul Williams retired in May 2011.

Upon Williams’s retirement, Police Chief Desmond Racicot oversaw the department until May 2012, when Stone was placed temporarily in charge.

The city and the firefighters union were engaged in a battle over the qualifications for new chief candidates, which delayed the permanent appointment.

A judge ruled in favor of the union last year, allowing in-house candidates to be considered for chief.

‘ASSISTANT CHIEF SOON’

In addition to the contention over the chief’s qualifications, the union had several public disagreements with Donald Kasprzak when he was mayor, from 2007 until the end of 2013.

Stone, who served as a union president for 10 years when he was a firefighter, said he believes that he and Calnon can settle most issues that come up within the department.

“We plan to be more proactive than reactive, and I am confident we will have a good working relationship,” he said.

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