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Fire Chief Reelected To Serve Final Term

Unopposed fire election keeps officials in posts

Fire Chief Brian Potter will once again lead Mahwah’s in 2012, after he was reelected during the fire department elections Monday.

First and Second Assistant Chiefs Ed Garza and Brad Stio were also reelected to the posts they held in 2011. All three ran unopposed in the company-wide elections.

“I am very happy and I am looking forward to leading the department once again,” Potter said. “I want to thank the members of the fire department for trusting me with this important job.”

However, 2012 will be his last year as Chief.

“We have a two-year term limit for the fire chief position, and this will be my second year,” Potter, who previously served as an assistant chief, said. “But the assistant chief positions do not have term limits.”

Although the officers were not challenged by fellow firefighters for the leadership roles, Potter said normal elections were carried out because write-in candidates are allowed. Votes were counted after the polls closed at 9 p.m. Monday.

Potter, Garza and Stio will be sworn in during a ceremony on January 1, along with the individual company captains and lieutenants. Company captains will be elected in December, Potter said.

See more about the 2011 swearing-in ceremony, and who the current fire officers are, .  

Mercedes1 November 16, 2011 at 03:41 PM
Congratulations Brian. I know you'll have another exhausting but rewarding year!
Andy Schmidt November 17, 2011 at 03:54 AM
I would have never thought there could a two year limit for the chief's position as this is not a political position, but one of leadership and mentorship. As a layperson I would have thought it takes years to gain the technical and management experience, and wisdom, to become chief - and once a suitable person was found, that person would be asked to serve in that position for many years I wish the article would have explained the reasoning behind it to educate me, the reader. Hopefully, someone can "fill in the blanks" for me.
Just one for the few November 17, 2011 at 05:37 AM
In response to Andy, hopefully I can "fill you in" with some of the reasoning behind it all. By the time the Fire Chief has reached his/her term, they have been an officer for years leading up to the top spot. During this time, they have responded to numerous calls, starting out as a firefighter and moving up through the ranks. Besides the calls that they go to, there are meetings and drills throughout each month. Being in the Fire Chief position, there are monthly meetings with his/her company, with the rest of the fire officers and with the Mutual Aid departments. Since we are a volunteer department, we have our own jobs to go to daily or nightly. There is a lot of time that is spent away from our families too, to go to emergencies, drills, meetings, training, schooling each month and year. By the time they have reached the Chief position, they have run drills, taught and mentored the probies, and furthered their own knowledge by going back to the academy to learn the new technologies associated with being a firefighter or one of the other officer positions, such as Lieutenant, Captain, Battalion Chief and Chief. So you can see why a two year term might seem like a "short time", but in the long run, it is not that short a time.
Andy Schmidt November 17, 2011 at 10:23 PM
Dear Ed, Thanks for taking the time and sharing your insight. I can fully understand why a Chief might choose not to run for the position after two years and rather give other members the opportunity. I was more puzzled by the fact that a limit had been imposed, which would mean that even if a person is willing and able to continue serving as a Chief, they would not be eligible. Considering all the factors you mentioned, it would seem as if the department would be glad if occasionally someone were to accept that responsibility for more than two years? Is such a short term limit common for volunteer departments in general? (PS: I'm not at all challenging the rules - I'm really just trying to become a little less clueless <G>).
Just one for the few November 18, 2011 at 05:47 PM
It is not uncommon to have, within the volunteer department, a two year rule. Mahwah used to have a 3 year rule, but it was changed years ago, based on the factors I mentioned previously. An Ex-Chief, in Mahwah, can run again only after sitting out one year. In some cases, in some of the smaller departments in our area, a Ex-Chief may be elected again to serve another term. This is usually caused by not having enough qualified members to fill the position.

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