Huge support for San Nicolas to lead GFD - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Huge support for San Nicolas to lead GFD

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by Nick Delgado

Guam - There was overwhelming support during the confirmation hearing for fire lieutenant Joey San Nicolas to serve as the fire chief of the Guam Fire Department. "I quickly observed and appreciated his professionalism many times on a daily basis, having such good karma he keeps positive energy and rapport with all ranks, he executes tasks with great deliberation and organization," said Marilyn Aflague.

Ed Flores added, "Acting Chief San Nicolas' achievements are all too numerous and complex to mention in this forum, I only small illustration of his many achievements and will summarize that he has planned and led many department wide initiatives with success."

But there were a few in the department and the community who questioned whether San Nicolas was the right man for the job and whether he met the qualifications for the chief's position. "I am here today not to support or go against the acting fire chief," noted John Santos, a fellow firefighter. "I'm here only because he does not meet the requirements as a battalion chief, the position of chiefs aide is non-existent in a GFD general orders 85-01 and 86-01. The acting fire chief has adopted new SOPs to favor himself."

"For you senators to use military experience and compare it to a fire battalion chief is wrong and you're setting precedence for future misinterpretation of this position and even lawsuits."

While policymakers commended Santos for his open testimony, they did not agree with what he said, as Senator Tom Ada said, "I will certainly not dismiss the experience he has a commissioned officer in the military because those commissions and the leadership training they go through certainly means a lot."

And when it was time for the nominee to take the hot seat, he provided emotional testimony detailing his short- and long-term goals to better the department. "I've asked myself why should I consider stepping up to the plate at a time when GFD is at its most difficult and challenging state of affairs," San Nicolas said. "I know what its like to be chastised by many that we are overpaid and underworked while the exact same people lay safe at home...knowing all they have to do is call 911 and we will be there. Many of the dedicated men and women of GFD endure the same frustrations of wanting to do more for the community they serve but are limited by many factors. This is why I have chosen to step up."

San Nicolas is the fifth candidate to take the job this year. Lawmakers plan to bring his confirmation during the upcoming session. 

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