Nassau County Executive Laura Curran’s administration has increased staffing in the fire marshal’s office to make it easier to do business in the county.
Since she took office in January 2018, the department has hired nine additional uniformed fire marshals and promoted to fill vacancies within the office.
Fire marshals review plans for new businesses in the county to ensure their safety, which is required before the business opens. Fire marshal inspections are only conducted at the county level in Nassau and not by towns or villages.
“County Executive Curran has made it a priority to make it easier to do business in Nassau, which is why the county has expedited fire marshal plan review applications, significantly reducing response times,” said Christine Geed, Curran’s director of communications.
Geed said that as of last year the average response time was 12 weeks, which County Legislature Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park) said at a Blank Slate Media forum last month has been trimmed to six to eight weeks.
The office currently has 94 full-time employees, which includes 37 support staff members.
Fire marshals also investigate all cases of suspected arson in conjunction with the Police Department.
“The Curran administration is committed to ensuring our fire marshals have the proper staff and resources to continue keeping our residents and businesses safe,” Geed said in an email. “However, Nassau County is still operating under a control period with significant structural deficits. In our current financial situation, we simply cannot return to pre-recession levels of staffing.”
She said the administration has been targeting areas of need and the fire marshal’s office has been identified as one of them.
Positions that have been filled after staff promotions include assistant chief fire marshal, two fire marshal IIIs who serve as division supervisors, a fire marshal II or supervising fire marshal and a secretary to the chief fire marshal.
Hires made within the department are nine fire marshal trainees, a clerk typist and an administrative assistant. Four fire marshal trainees were hired last month with a starting salary of $44,555.
Geed said there are also additional requests to promote three fire marshal II employees and to backfill the promotions with three fire marshal trainees.
In 2018, fire marshal salaries cost the county $9.7 million, and with the increase in staffing, salaries are expected to cost $10.5 million in 2019.