Arlington Fire Commission Chair Re-Elected
Arlington Fire Commission Chairman James Beretta, who led the charge to remove the American flags from the district's fire apparatus this past summer, was re-elected to the position of chairman on Tuesday night.
Later in the evening, the five commissioners were to vote to accept the department's election results for the first and second assistant chief positions. The department's firefighters had voted to re-elect John Richardson as first assistant chief and Eric Philipp as second assistant chief on Dec. 8.
The commissioners confirmed Richardson in a 4-1 vote. Beretta made a motion not to re-appoint Eric Philipp as second assistant chief. Beretta's motion passed in a 3-2 vote with commissioner Seco and newly elected commissioner Blake Williams opposing the motion.
The failure to appoint a second assistant chief potentially created a break in the chain of command until District Chief Tory Gallante produced an opinion from the NYS Comptroller that suggested that Philipp remain in the position until a new election could be held. Gallante was instructed by the commissioners to seek the advice of legal counsel to determine the proper course of action.
When asked why he opposed the reappointment of Eric Philipp, Beretta responded with "no comment."
Gallante was unavailable for comment after the meeting, as was Eric Philipp. First Assistant Chief John Richardson was not present at the meeting due to a previous engagement.