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Malden appoints Colangeli new fire chief

Posted by Jarret Bencks  February 19, 2013 02:17 PM

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Assistant Fire Chief John "Jack" Colangeli has been selected as Malden's next chief, Mayor Gary Christenson said Tuesday.

Colangeli, 60, is a 32-year veteran of the Malden Fire Department and has been a deputy chief since 1990, serving as head of the fire prevention division and investigation unit. His late father, John, also was a longtime Malden firefighter.

Meanwhile, Captain Doug Perrigo will serve as acting police chief during the selection process to replace James Holland, who also is retiring.

A panel appointed by Christenson recommended Colangeli for the job after a review of candidates that included all five deputy chiefs. The panel formally recommended Colangeli Feb. 11. Christenson signed off last Friday, after reviewing the recommendation and the other candidates with city Fire Commissioner Thomas Denehy, he said.

"It was important to me to have someone who would not only be fire chief, but an ambassador of the community," Christenson said. "In my opinion, he has done a superb job of that."

Colangeli has regularly served as the Fire Department liaison at city public safety meetings and has expertise in fire prevention, Christenson said. He has received training and taken courses at Bunker Hill Community College, North Shore Community College and UMass.

"I look forward to working with the men and women of our Department, the Commissioner, Mayor, City Council, and the residents on our shared commitment to provide quality and responsive public safety services to Malden," Colangeli said in a prepared statement.

Fire Chief Michael Murphy will retire at the end of the month and Colangeli will take over as acting chief, Christenson said. A contract must be negotiated before he can take over the job permanently. Murphy's salary for fiscal year 2013 is $131,324, according to figures from the city's approved budget.

The panel that recommended Colangeli included Denehy; City Councilor Peg Crowe; Human Resources director Eleanor Cushing; former Boston Fire Department commissioner Paul Christian, and Dennis Cataldo of Cataldo Ambulance Service.

Christenson said he expected to negotiate a contract in coming weeks and have Colangeli officially sworn in some time in March.

The city's next major personnel task is selecting a new police chief. Holland turns 65 — the mandatory retirement age for police officers in Massachusetts — on Feb. 26. A panel was formed to review candidates, but is not expected make a recommendation before Holland leaves, Christenson said.

Perrigo is not a candidate for the perminent job and plans to retire voluntarily in March, Christenson said. Perrigo served as acting chief in 2010 before Holland was appointed chief. The police chief panel has been instructed to review internal candidates first, and only consider outside options if all of the applicants are unsatisfactory, Christenson said.


Jarret Bencks can be reached at bencks.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on twitter @JarretBencks.

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