It was also the largest group of reserve firefighters appointed in Peabody all at once in recent memory.
Fire Chief Steven Pasdon said his department is authorized for 22 people on the reserve list and Thursday's appointment hits that number.
Unlike other departments that regularly make use of their reserve forces, Peabody does not. The names are simply there to draw from, ahead of a general Civil Service list, when the city is prepared to appoint new full-time firefighters, said Pasdon.
He said that's always been the case in Peabody. The main reason for the situation is lack of professional training for a highly "dangerous" job, according to Pasdon. At this point, the only formal preparation the new reserve officers have under their belts (military experience notwithstanding) is passing the Civil Service exam.
It's only after the appointment to active duty that the city invests the time and money to send each new recruit to the state firefighting academy for several weeks of intense job training.
Pasdon said there's also no specific union agreement in place to deal with reserve firefighters, which would have to be worked out otherwise.
Despite the situation, some of the new reserves may not have long to wait before they are called up.
Pasdon he and the mayor have discussed filling more vacancies in the department in the coming year and that number could be as many as eight, depending on the budgetary situation.
The men named to the reserve list Thursday are as follows:
- Matthew St. Pierre (veteran)
- Daniel Barrasso (veteran)
- Sean Dolan (veteran)
- Justin Sauvageau (veteran)
- Kyle Grenier (veteran)
- Joseph Tracchia (veteran)
- Joseph Morgan (veteran)
- Matthew McKinnon
- John Brophy
- Michael Coleman
- Kevin Doherty
- Mark Eliuk
- Daniel Hinchion
- Michael Loder
- John Marotta
- Luke Murdoch
- William Thong
Among the 17 names added to the reserve ranks are some familiar names in Peabody firefighting (Eliuk and Hinchion, for instance). John Brophy is also on that list. Brophy's father, John "Jack" Brophy, you may recognize as a Peabody firefighter who was fired several years ago in a high profile case that was eventually settled in court.
There was no evidence of bitter feelings by either Brophy Thursday at City Hall, in fact just the opposite as they shook hands, shared wide smiles and posed with Pasdon for photos. Pasdon said he and the elder Brophy worked together as EMTs in the 1980s and there was never any personal animosity between them over the case, in spite of how inflamed the public battle became at times.
"No one likes to lose their job," Pasdon said.