By LOULLY SANEY
The University has not had a fire marshal for more than a year, ever since former marshal Robert Gregory left his post to work for emergency services in Princeton Borough, which has since been consolidated into the single Princeton municipality. The position has been vacant since at least early March 2012, according to an old version of the Department of Public Safety’s directory.
In an interview last week, Executive Director of Public Safety Paul Ominsky said that a preliminary search for a new fire marshal was implemented after Gregory’s departure but turned out to be unsuccessful in producing a “quality candidate.”
As University fire marshal, Gregory explained, he was mainly doing code enforcement work, managing the volunteer fire program and working with the facilities department.
The University currently relies on Assistant Fire Marshal and Manager of Library Security Twylen Hicks for the job. According to Hicks, he has been working as the “acting fire marshal” since Gregory’s departure. He added that his responsibilities have grown to cover the entire campus, including management of fire inspections and fire safety training.
As a result of the failed replacement search, Ominsky explained that DPS has decided to take some time for “benchmarking” and has since redefined the job description of the University fire marshal. DPS expanded the job requirements to include more community outreach on the part of the fire marshal’s office.
“The fire marshal’s job description is still growing,” Hicks explained, adding that it is not ready for advertisement to the public due to its “evolving” state.
DPS Director of Operations Stefanie Karp said that her department is working with Human Resources and plans to begin advertising the fire marshal position in the next couple of weeks.
“I’m keeping my options open,” Hicks said, explaining that he is not sure whether he will apply for the fire marshal position. “I want to know what the final job description is.”
If he did apply and was selected for the job, Hicks said he would step down from his current position as assistant fire marshal, creating a new vacancy in the department that someone else will then have to fill.
Meanwhile, Gregory explained that he left the University because the Borough’s offer to manage the town’s emergency services gave him the opportunity to “move up and get more responsibility.” Gregory is now responsible for the town’s entire fire department, as well as the emergency management duties that he enjoys being in charge of, he said.
Gregory said that he came back to the University as a “courtesy” to help Hicks in the planning stages of this year’s bonfire.
Working in conjunction with Hicks is a “casual hourly employee,” Hicks said. Diane Borsuk works at the University part-time to perform fire safety inspections in all the academic and office buildings around campus, looking for potential fire hazards.