Commission appoints former fire chief as deputy chief
By Elio Gugliotti, editor
NAUGATUCK – The Council of Fire Marshals unanimously voted on July 12 to hire former Naugatuck Fire Chief Ken Hanks, who retired in 2015, as Deputy Fire Chief.
The appointment depended on the approval by the council of the mayor and the bourgeoisie of a contract for Hanks. Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said he expects to have a contract in place to present it to the board at a special meeting on July 19.
Hess, who is a voting member of the commission, said officials have known Hanks from his time in the department. After his retirement, Hess said Hanks continued to volunteer for the borough, including on the finance council and as part of the Unified Command team, which responds to emergencies.
“Without any hesitation, I can say he is the best man in the state for the job,” Hess said.
Hanks could not be reached for comment. A message left looking for a comment was not returned.
Hanks began his career as a volunteer with the no longer existing Naugatuck Volunteer Fire Department in 1982. He was hired as a full-time career firefighter three years later and worked his way up through the ranks. service. He became Deputy Chef in 2005 and Chef in 2010.
Hanks will replace former Deputy Fire Chief James Trzaski, who resigned in June to become Chief of the Middletown Southern District Fire Department.
Hanks receives a borough pension of about $ 78,000 per year, according to US Republican records. He also enjoys health cover as part of his retirement benefits. Since he is already receiving benefits, the borough will not offer health care under his contract as deputy head.
Borough policy stipulates that services can only hire a person who has retired from the borough for department head positions or for part-time, temporary or seasonal jobs.
Hanks’ appointment continues a recent trend of appointing retired firefighters to administrative roles in the department.
Fire Chief Paul Russell retired from the department in 2017 before being appointed Deputy Fire Chief a few days later. Russell was appointed chief in 2020. Trzaski retired from the department as captain in 2014, before his tenure as deputy chief began last August.
Hess said the borough saves tens of thousands of people by not paying benefits for someone who receives them at retirement. In the case of Hanks, he said the borough can hire the best person for the job and save money.
“It’s a pretty easy choice for me,” he said.
The commission last week also promoted Lt. David Proulx to captain and firefighters Brandon Johnson, Matthew Hetrick and Benjamin Mike each to lieutenant. The commission appointed Richard Hally deputy fire marshal.