The Board of Fire Commissioners promoted 12 new fire captains and 12 lieutenants, but there could be more promotions to those ranks for two very different reasons: a lawsuit by one firefighter, and pending negotiations with the fire union for staffing changes.
During a special called meeting of the board Monday, the following 12 people were promoted to captain: Lt. Ryan Almedia, Lt. Miguel Rosado, Lt. Daniel Coughlin, Lt. Patrick Psarras, Lt. Thomas Fitzgerald, Lt. Wayne Ricks Jr., Lt. Rafael Zayas, Lt. Kendall Richardson, Lt. Timothy Papp, Lt. Justin Bialecki, Lt. Gregory Carroll and Lt. Christopher Brigham.
The board also approved the following 12 firefighters for promotion to lieutenant: Phillip Gauvin Jr., Scott Dillon, Silverio Rivera, Matthew Kennedy, Vincent Caruso Jr., Jeffrey Brabham, Michael DeMennato, James Fitzgerald, Troy Frost, Roberto Lugo, Raymond Dejesus, and Steven Ortiz.
One more firefighter could be promoted to captain based on the outcome of pending litigation. Lt. Angel Aviles has sued over the promotional exam for captain. He states in the complaint, filed by attorney Patricia Cofrancesco, that the city lost part of the audiotape of the oral portion of the exam. When asked to review the audiotape to review his score, he was offered a “hybrid” of the audiotape and a videotape, according to the complaint, which argues that that denied him the chance to fully “confirm the accuracy of the score.” The complaint states that the city also promised but failed to provide affidavits from three people who administered the oral portion of the exam.
The suit seeks to have the list from the captain’s test thrown out and the oral tests readministered. Mayoral spokesman Laurence Grotheer said the city doesn’t comment on pending litigation like this lawsuit. (Click here to read the complaint.)
“There was an issue of one of the captain/lieutenants who was not able to review his complete exam,” Alston said. “It’s a matter between him and the testing company, Morrison & McDaniel. It came up in the Civil Service Board hearing that we could move forward with the list. Pending the outcome of the litigation, should his score change — he has been scored — but if his score changes he will be inserted into the list. Currently, where he is on the list does not affect us moving forward.”
After the board approved the lieutenant’s list, Alston reminded members that he is presenting his department’s budget before the Board of Alders Finance Committee Thursday night and that there will be staffing changes going forward in the next couple of weeks. Alston’s budget currently includes all of the promotions that have been approved, but doesn’t reflect the ongoing negotiations. He did say that the negotiations are aimed at achieving more efficiencies.
“I didn’t want to make those changes because this will affect everything,” Alston said of the promotion lists. “I want to submit it as it is, but there may be the opportunity to even go further on the list with some of the staffing changes I’m negotiating with Local 825.”
A promotion ceremony for the new lieutenants, captains and other ranks that were recently announced is slated for April 21 at 5 p.m. Alston said the venue is still to be determined.