It’s taken almost one year since Ron Kanterman departed as Wilton’s Fire Chief, and Geoff Herald stepped in as Acting Chief, but Wilton officials are poised to name the town’s next full-time chief of the Fire Department.

Wednesday afternoon, May 20, the Wilton Fire Commission voted 2-0 to extend a conditional offer of employment to a candidate to become the next chief of the department.    Tonight, at a special meeting of the Board of Selectmen, the Commission will recommend that the town extend that offer, effective at the end of Herald’s term (scheduled for Oct. 31, 2020), and name the candidate acting deputy chief in the interim.

The special meeting of the BOS is scheduled for a virtual zoom call tonight at 7:30 p.m. 

First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice declined to name the candidate. “We do not release the name of the candidate until all background checks have been cleared and we have a mutually-agreeable employment agreement,” she said. She also declined to specify whether the person being named was chosen internally from the department or externally.

The town is eager to wrap up the hiring process, as it has gone on longer than originally planned. Last month, the BOS decided against extending an offer to another candidate that the Fire Commission had recommended.

“We hope to be able to complete the necessary steps fairly quickly as we are anxious during a pandemic to have an acting deputy and upon Jeff’s departure, a new chief,” Vanderslice said.

Herald’s employment as interim chief has been extended multiple times beyond the term for which he was first hired.

“We have been so appreciative of Chief Herald’s willingness to help the Town of Wilton and the Wilton Fire Department during this time period,” Vanderslice said. “Geoff has stayed much longer than he ever intended to stay when he accepted the position. And he certainly never intended to be the interim fire chief during a pandemic. So we are grateful to Geoff, and the fire commission definitely wants to honor the commitment that we made to him when we set the date at Oct. 31.”