Mayor Joseph Maturo, Jr. announced today that, following an extensive two-month search, he will be appointing fire industry veteran and New Haven's former "Acting Fire Chief" Matthew Marcarelli to succeed former Fire Chief Douglas Jackson, who concluded his final day with the Town of East Haven last Friday.
Maturo explained, "The Town was fortunate to interview seven finalist candidates, all of whom exhibited exceptional professionalism and drive. However, in addition to these qualities, former Chief Marcarelli comes to East Haven with an outstanding record of proven leadership from his prior posts in New Haven which will allow him to transition smoothly into our Department and to lead it effectively moving forward."
For Maturo, the appointment and swearing-in of Marcarelli will mark a Town-record fifth "chief" he will swear in as Mayor, having pinned Len Gallo (Police), Doug Jackson (Fire), Brent Larrabee (Police), and most recently Ed Lennon (Police) during his own record-setting sixteen year tenure as East Haven's Mayor. Having sworn in public safety heads in the past, Maturo stressed the long-term significance of the appointment.
Maturo explained, "When a municipal CEO appoints a public safety head to a position like this, he or she is making a statement not only about the qualifications of the candidate, but even more so about the vision that candidate possesses. In this case, my choice of Matthew Marcarelli is recognition not only of his outstanding credentials, but also an endorsement of his vision of growth and success for our Fire Department."
Marcarelli, who began his career as a firefighter in New Haven in 1992, quickly rose through the New Haven Fire Department's ranks and served as an Assistant Drillmaster ('97-'98), Fire Lieutenant and Fire Captain ('98-'10), and Battalion Chief ('09-Present). From 2015 to 2016, he assumed the role of "Operations Chief" and "Acting Fire Chief," during which time he helped navigate the Department through a five-year plan to upgrade the Department from an ISO rating of "2" to "1," making it one of only two departments in the State to attain such a rating.
Last week, all seven candidates were interviewed by an independent review panel assembled by Mayor Maturo and comprised of Wallingford Fire Chief Richard Heidgerd, Torrington Fire Chief Gary Brunoli, and retired Danbury Fire Chief Geoff Herald. Maturo, who sat as an observer to guide the interviews, praised the interview process as both comprehensive and fair.
Maturo explained, "Our vetting and interview processes for this position were thorough and extensive. Last week, candidates sat for competitive interviews with a panel of local and respected fire leaders which I had the pleasure of overseeing. Mr. Marcarelli had stiff competition, especially from two applicants from within our own Department. However, his experience and proven leadership in New Haven proved to be key factors in the recommendations of our panel and in my ultimate decision."
No formal date for a swearing-in ceremony has been set. However, the Mayor is currently eying Thursday, April 20th as a target to formally administer the oath of office to Marcarelli and to swear him in. Until that time, Assistant Fire Chief Chuck Licata will serve as East Haven's acting fire chief.
Maturo concluded, "Matthew Marcarelli possesses exceptional educational, practical, and professional experience that I know will allow him to build upon the outstanding success of former-Chief Jackson. I have no doubt he will hit the ground running on day one and I am confident he will lead our Fire Department professionally throughout his tenure with the Town of East Haven."