City of Somerville

Agenda Item

Requesting confirmation of the appointment of Robert McCarthy to the position of Deputy Fire Chief.


Category:Mayor's RequestPurposes:Appointment

Official Text

To the Honorable City Council:


I hereby appoint, subject to the Honorable City Council's confirmation, Robert McCarthy to the position of Deputy Fire Chief.


Thank you for your consideration of this item.


Respectfully Submitted,

Joseph A. Curtatone, Mayor

Meeting History

Jun 30, 2020 6:00 PM Video City Council Special Meeting
Jul 9, 2020 5:45 PM Video Confirmation of Appointments and Personnel Matters Committee Committee Meeting

Chief Breen introduced District Chief McCarthy, who has been a member of the Fire Department since 1996, and noted that he has been serving in the role of Acting Deputy since January, overseeing the Fire Prevention Bureau. Mr. McCarthy is also a member of the MA Bar Association, and has done a great deal of outreach work in the community.

Chair Rossetti noted that this particular role includes an exam, which is scheduled for July 21, and this is why this candidate is appearing now, when the other Fire Department promotions and candidates will be heard by the Committee at the end of the summer. Councilor Scott asked about timing and noted that a legal precedent has been set by the Civil Service Commission, and Ms. Collins noted that the Law Department should prepare the response to that concern. Councilor Clingan also clarified that the administration intends to continue to move forward with confirmations of appointments regardless of the status of meetings, whether virtual or in person.

Chair Rossetti asked why Mr. McCarthy chose the Fire Department as a lawyer, and Mr. McCarthy clarified that the Fire Department came first, and he knew it was the job for him. He decided to return to law school after working on fire investigations. Councilor Mbah asked what Mr. McCarthy views as areas for improvement and Mr. McCarthy shared that training is always important, health and safety for the firefighters to mitigate cancer risk, and striving to continue to expand diversity in public safety to reflect the community that the departments serves.

Councilor Scott moved to enter into Executive Session to review protected personnel information or to discuss matters related to individual candidates pursuant to MGL c30A s21(a)(1). The motion was approved on a roll call vote of 5 in favor (Clingan, Mbah, Strezo, Scott, Rossetti) to 0 against. No votes were taken in Executive Session.

Councilor Scott cited Gorman v City of Somerville to note that he has concerns with the administration's process. Chair Rossetti noted that it will be addressed for future candidates.

AYES:Mary Jo Rossetti, Jefferson Thomas ("J.T.") Scott, Wilfred N. Mbah, Jesse Clingan, Kristen Strezo
Jul 14, 2020 7:00 PM Video City Council Regular Meeting
AYES:Wilfred N. Mbah, Mary Jo Rossetti, Kristen Strezo, William A. White Jr., Matthew McLaughlin, Jefferson Thomas ("J.T.") Scott, Ben Ewen-Campen, Jesse Clingan, Mark Niedergang, Lance L. Davis, Katjana Ballantyne