New fire chief will come from New Haven

The Wilton Fire Commission has extended a conditional offer of employment to Matthew Marcarelli to be the next chief of the Wilton Fire Department. He would succeed Paul Milositz, who retired in July.

Mr. Marcarelli is director of training for the city of New Haven Fire Department. But his name may be familiar to some as a member of the group known as the New Haven 20 who sued the city of New Haven for discrimination in the Fire Department’s promotion process. They were a group of 19 white firefighters and one Hispanic who claimed they were discriminated against when they were not promoted after passing an exam in 2003. The group claimed they were denied promotions “because we are White or Hispanic and not enough Black candidates succeeded,” according to a case summary on the website

The case made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2009, which ruled the city unfairly denied the firefighters promotion.

Fire Commission Chairman Gary Mecozzi announced the decision Tuesday morning after an executive session and said the appointment would be contingent upon Mr. Marcarelli successfully completing physical, psychological and drug tests. There will also be “an extensive background investigation” into any criminal or motor vehicle offenses, and verification of licensing and certifications, his education, past employment, and references.

Mr. Mecozzi declined to comment further on the appointment. A call to Mr. Marcarelli was not returned.

As director of training for the city of New Haven Fire Department, Mr. Marcarelli is in charge of the New Haven Regional Fire Academy, which provides expanded training opportunities to 27 towns in the greater New Haven area. It is a Class A structural firefighting facility. According to Mr. Marcarelli’s LinkedIn profile, he has been director of training and safety officer since August 2011. Prior to that, he was a captain with the New Haven Fire Department from December 2009 to July 2010, according to the profile. He received a bachelor of science degree from Charter Oak State College in public safety administration.

Mr. Mecozzi would not say when he expects the appointment to be complete, but said he hopes it will be wrapped up fairly quickly.