Change in the ranks

Six firefighters sworn in as captains

Bayonne swore in six firefighters as captains on June 30 following the retirement of 16 members of the department, 12 of whom held officer titles.
The promotions came with the caveat that the promoted firefighters would not see an increase in salaries until next year, which will help to reduce the overall cost of government. The promoted firefighters currently earn between $79,000 to slightly over $85,000. Captains generally earn about $120,000 per year. The city is expected to save about $1.9 million as a result of the changes.
City officials swore in John Andreychak, Timothy Fitzsimmons, Kevin McMonigle, Jason O’Donnell, Bryan Stanislawski and Thomas Schork to help bolster the ranks depleted by retirements.
In a speech given at the swearing in, Fire Chief Greg Rogers thanked the mayor and council, particularly focusing on Mayor Mark Smith – who not only acknowledged, but also responded, to the very difficult situation the fire department faces as result of retirements.
“His leadership led to the promotion of these captains, and that was an absolute necessity,” Rogers said.
In addressing the captains, Rogers said, “You have worked long, hard hours, endured months and, in some cases, years of studying, and made many sacrifices. And all this effort comes with no guarantee. Because not only must you score high in a very competitive exam, but the positions must be available in order for you to be made. The uncertainty is now behind you, and your efforts have paid off.”


“The officers promoted today will have to be prepared to deal with more than just the ravages of fire.” – Fire Chief Greg Rogers

Rogers also thanked the families of the firefighters, saying they also made sacrifices, such as cancelled trips, later hours, and extended periods of isolation.
“The officers promoted today will have to be prepared to deal with more than just the ravages of fire,” Rogers said. “A modern day fire department, in a post 9/11 world, unfortunately routinely prepares for many frightening scenarios. The scope of our jurisdictional responsibility now extends well beyond our city border. In this densely populated industrial city, our new captains must prepare for and respond to petrol-chemical emergencies, ship and water based emergencies, hazardous material and confined space emergencies, building collapse, vehicle wrecks, EMS calls, and every other imaginable emergency that may arise. And we do all this at a time when the city expands to the east. And before you know it, the peninsula will be a major extension of the city, and the captains will have the added responsibility of responding to and protecting an even greater population of people and buildings.”
Some of the new captains have recently distinguished themselves in heroic acts, such as the dramatic rescue of a woman trapped in her car in Newark Bay.
Rogers said as captains, all will be required to make important choices.
“You have just entered a new world, one where you no longer follow, but lead,” he said. “First arriving company officers have to make split second decisions when arriving at the scene of an emergency. As you know, your decisions may very well impact an individual’s life or property. Be prepared for those moments.”
Rogers encouraged the new captains to train their men incessantly and to develop each company as a team.
“Build your friendships, but at the same time maintain order and discipline,” he said. “Older, more experienced firemen may now be under your direction, but it is you who must answer in the end. Encourage high moral standards. Treat your subordinates with the same respect that you demand. Tactically, stick to the basics. Creative decision-making will come in time. And finally, and most importantly, continue the Bayonne Fire Department tradition of being responsive, courteous, and loyal to the people of Bayonne.”

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