Any one of the four fire captains who turned down the provisional fire chief position for the City of Batavia could still take command of the department.
There is not yet an eligible list for the position, said Karen Marchese, personnel officer for Genesee County, but a civil-service exam for fire chief has been scheduled for January. An eligible list are those people who are qualified and have applied for the job.
Marchese's office handles civil-service issues for governments in the county.
Chief Tom Dillon resigned week before last, and served his last day Friday, after the New York State Civil Service Commission denied a waiver that would have allowed him to draw his pension and his full-time salary.
The waiver, known as a 211 waiver, has its uses, according to the state's Web site, but Marchese said the commission is trying to reduce the number of such waivers, especially when there are eligible non-retired candidates for the job.
The hearing in which the 211 waiver for Dillon was reviewed by the commission was available in a webcast, Marchese said (the webcast is no longer online since the commission has met again since then).
"My recollection is that they discussed the nature of fire and police service -- there's a lot of tradition, as you know, in police and fire service -- and they discussed how it's primarily a promotion-based system," Marchese said. "They discussed that there were candidates who applied for the job who are not retirees.'
Marchese said she was not trying to speak for the commission and the exact reason for the denial is not clear.
Asked if she had anything to add, Marchese said, "I work very closely with the city and other localities on issues like this. This has been rather high profile and Jason and I have worked closely on it. We've had an open line of communication about it. He's working in good faith. There is no bad faith here on his part."
As for the captains, they've been told by Jason Molino not to discuss the situation with the media, according to two sources. The captains were told this was a "personnel issue," so they were prohibited from talking publicly about it.