McDonald mayor to name new fire chief

McDONALD — Mayor Glen “Marty” Puckett intends to appoint a new fire chief in January to replace Chief Nick Kish.

Puckett, reached by phone, said he asked Weathersfield fire Capt. Todd Stitt to serve as McDonald’s fire chief. Puckett said he isn’t replacing Kish because of any disciplinary infractions, but he just wants “to go in a new direction with the department.”

Puckett said Kish has served with the department for 14 years, including seven as chief, and he has talked to both men about the decision because he didn’t want to blindside anyone.

“I have full confidence in Mr. Stitt and I think he’d be an asset to the fire department,” Puckett said.

Puckett said it will be up to Stitt to decide if Kish will remain on the department roster. Kish didn’t return a call seeking comment.

Stitt, 54, a captain with the Weathersfield fire department, began his fire career in 1981 as a volunteer firefighter in McDonald and ultimately took a position with the Weathersfield fire department in 1999.

Stitt is a veteran of public safety roles in both Mcdonald and Weathersfield. For a brief time Stitt worked for McDonald full-time as a firefighter, although he said full time positions were eliminated in the early 1990s. Stitt was then named to the position of public safety service officer where he worked in roles as a firefighter, police officer and in emergency medical services. In 1993, Stitt took a job with Weathersfield police, where he worked until 2008.

Stitt said Puckett asked him over the weekend about an appointment as chief in McDonald, a position he will assume Jan. 15 pending approval by Village Council. Stitt said he’s interested in streamlining the services both departments offer and working collaboratilvely with Weathersfield, where he will continue to work even after he becomes McDonald’s fire chief.

“Making both departments stronger for the residents of each community is what needs to be done,” Stitt said.

Weathersfield fire Chief Randall Pugh said he’s aware Puckett has decided to appoint Stitt as McDonald’s fire chief. Stitt will serve the village well, Pugh said.

“Todd is a good man and an ideal person for the job,” Pugh said.

Puckett said Stitt’s January appointment will come along with the appointment of Lt. Bill Woodley as police chief. Woodley has been serving as acting police chief for several months in the absence of Chief Lou Ronghi, who is retiring. Puckett also will appoint a new building inspector to replace Jim Border, who announced his end-of-year resignation earlier this year.