MOUNT VERNON — Nowhere is the old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” more true than in firefighting, and it was with that in mind that Mount Vernon Fire Chief Chris Menapace advocated for creation of a fire prevention officer’s position.
Menapace, who had served the department as assistant chief since 2007, was promoted to chief in November. A month later, he proposed to City Council that instead of naming a new assistant chief, a fire prevention officer should be named to head up fire inspections and arson investigations.
In short order, council advised Menapace to move ahead. He developed a job description for approval by the Civil Service Commission, went back to council to get the position formally recognized by ordinance, coordinated with the firefighters’ union, and posted the job.
Several members of the department were eligible to apply, but Terry Davis, a 15-year firefighting veteran and experienced inspector, was the sole applicant. He was already one of the department’s primary building inspectors, an experienced arson investigator, and he was an ideal fit for the position. By February, all details had been taken care of and Davis was off and running in his new position.