Naugatuck offers deputy fire chief position to former Stratford firefighter

NAUGATUCK — The Fire Commission voted unanimously last week to conditionally offer the deputy fire chief job to Ellen E. Murray, a former assistant fire chief in Stratford.

“We just thought that she was going to be the best fit for this department,” Vice Chairman Timothy Ryan said.

As of early this week, Murray was still negotiating with borough officials and had not officially taken the position.

If she does take the job, Murray will be the first woman in the 126-year-old fire department to hold any position other than dispatcher or secretary.

She would also be the first deputy fire chief to be hired from outside the department. No one from inside the department applied because the position is non-union and the qualified candidates would be taking a pay cut, Fire Chief Ken Hanks said.

Murray worked for the Stratford Fire Department for 28 years, spending 18 as a lieutenant before moving up to assistant fire chief, Malicki said. She is pursuing a master’s degree in public safety, Hanks said.

The position of deputy fire chief has been vacant since Hanks was promoted to chief after the retirement of former Chief Charles Doback, who was also the fire marshal. The commission initially considered advertising for a deputy chief who would also act as fire marshal, but decided against it.

The job opening has been advertised since January and netted 28 applicants, Hanks said. Of those, the commission interviewed eight and chose Murray out of three finalists.

“Out of the three, it was a difficult decision,” Malicki said.

The job offer is contingent on Murray passing physical and drug testing and negotiating a contract with the borough that the Board of Mayor and Burgesses would have to approve.

The deputy fire chief’s salary was advertised as $68,000.