OSWEGO — The Oswego Fire Department will be experiencing changes in shift leadership as two of four department Deputy Chiefs are retiring, prompting two key promotions from Mayor Billy Barlow and Fire Chief Randy Griffin.
Andrew Montalbano is being promoted from Fire Captain to Deputy Fire Chief for Special Operations. He will lead “C” Group, focusing on hazardous materials response, marine operations, technical rescue and lead the city’s unmanned aerial systems program with the Police Department.
Michael Zalewski is being promoted from Fire Captain to Deputy Chief of Fire Prevention and Operations and will be assigned to “D” group. He will lead fire prevention, fire investigations and overall fire response operation efforts for the department, working closely with Code Enforcement, Police investigators and other city agencies.
Both firefighters, in their early 30s, started their careers with the Oswego Fire Department in 2008 and have quickly ascended through the ranks.
Deputy Fire Chiefs are senior leaders in the department responsible for all facets of a particular focus area of the department. They manage preparedness and response efforts in a particular functional area including budget, equipment, personnel, training and oversight. On scenes they act as the city’s incident commanders responsible for safety of the public and responses to incidents from medical emergencies, to car accidents, from hazardous materials releases, to building fires and any other major crisis that the city is faced with.
“Andrew Montalbano and Michael Zalewski are both quality firefighters with the expertise, professionalism and character to assume leadership roles in the Oswego Fire Department,” said Mayor Barlow.
“Chief Montalbano and Chief Zalewski are young, up and coming fire professionals at the Oswego Fire Department who have worked their way through the ranks and will ensure the Oswego Fire Department continues to be a top tier, multi-faceted fire service agency throughout all of Central New York for many years to come,” Barlow said.
According to Randy Griffin, chief of the Oswego Fire Department, “these two individuals exemplify the hard work and dedication put forth everyday by Oswego Firefighters. They both have proven themselves as strong leaders with the competence and character to lead the department and I am confident that they will rise to meet the needs of our community as we continue to grow.”
The promotions follow the recent retirement of Deputy Chief Dave McCullough, formerly the Fire Prevention and Operations Deputy and the upcoming retirement of Deputy Chief of Emergency Management Justin Norfleet who has led in many of the emergency management and disaster recovery efforts for the city. He is slated to retire in February 2021.