Springfield City Council votes to change fire commissioner rules - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Springfield City Council votes to change fire commissioner requirements

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There was a sigh of relief from Springfield's interim fire commissioner and dozens of his firefighters Monday night.

The City Council approved new employment requirements that allow him to work the position full-time.

The commissioner now only needs to have a bachelor's degree instead of a master's degree.

Conant is working toward his bachelor's.

He led the department through the June 1, 2011 tornado and downtown gas explosion.

They're lessons, he says,  that can't be learned in a textbook.

"Education is important, but as a fire chief you need to have leadership, you need to have the respect of the men doing the job, so I believe it's a combination of the both of those," Conant said after Monday night's meeting.

Dozens of his fellow firefighters had supported him and were relieved to see him keep his post.

"He's a firefighter's firefighter," said President of the Local 648 Union David Wells.

Conant says it is a year to the day when Mayor Domenic Sarno appointed him as interim commissioner.

The council also decided to change the commissioner requirement of being a deputy chief for seven years down to a district or deputy chief of five to six years.

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