Naugatuck Fire Department has a new captain

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Kathy Flaherty pins a new badge to the uniform of her husband, Stephen ‘Greg’ Flaherty, who was promoted Wednesday night to captain in the Naugatuck Fire Department. Their grandchildren, 2-year-old Jordyn Alford and 5-year-old Tessa Travali, look on. –RA ARCHIVE
Kathy Flaherty pins a new badge to the uniform of her husband, Stephen ‘Greg’ Flaherty, who was promoted Wednesday night to captain in the Naugatuck Fire Department. Their grandchildren, 2-year-old Jordyn Alford and 5-year-old Tessa Travali, look on. –RA ARCHIVE

NAUGATUCK — The Fire Commission on Wednesday promoted and swore in the Naugatuck Fire Department’s newest captain.

The commission voted unanimously to extend the offer to Stephen “Greg” Flaherty, a lieutenant and the brother of former Fire Chief Kerry Flaherty. He replaces former Capt. David Seeger, who retired in January.

Flaherty’s family, co-workers and some of their relatives gathered Wednesday to watch his swearing-in during a commission meeting at the fire house.

“I just want to thank everybody for all the years of support,” said Flaherty, 53, of Cheshire. “Over the last month, it’s been a crazy, hectic, nerve-racking, headache-inducing process, and I’m glad it’s over.”

Flaherty was one of four lieutenants, each of whom who supervised two other firefighters at the Eastside Station on May Street. As captain, he will supervise the “B” shift, including the Eastside crew and six other firefighters and a dispatcher downtown. He will also manage overtime, scheduling and training for his shifts. He will start his first shift as captain Friday at 8 a.m.

He has worked for the fire department for 17 years and was a lieutenant for the past eight.

All four lieutenants tried out for the promotion, taking a written examination March 5 and going through oral interviews last Thursday. Per the firefighters’ union contract, the promotional testing was done through a private company, which brought in chiefs from other departments to conduct interviews.

The chief of the Suffield fire department, the deputy chief in Norwalk and a lieutenant in Hamden held and scored the interviews, Hanks said. Both the written and oral portions were rated out of 100 and the scores were then totaled, Fire Chief Ken Hanks said. Flaherty scored the highest, with Lt. Michael Chatfield a close second, Hanks said.

Flaherty is an active instructor at the Wolcott State Fire Training School, which has made him a strong leader, Hanks said.

“He’s a very good firefighter,” Hanks said. “He’s a good lieutenant, he’s a very competent officer and he’ll do very well as captain.”

As captain, Flaherty’s salary is about $64,000 this fiscal year, not including overtime. As lieutenant, his base pay was more than $60,000.

Flaherty’s promotion leaves a lieutenant vacancy, which the others will fill with overtime pay, Hanks said. That is still cheaper than having a captain vacancy, which captains fill with overtime pay.

Tests and interviews will be held in April for firefighters applying to be the next lieutenant, Hanks said. A promotion is likely at the May 6 fire commission meeting, he said.