GLOVERSVILLE – In front of family and members of the city Fire Department, new Fire Chief Thomas Groff was sworn in Thursday evening.
Groff, taking over for former Chief Beth Whitman-Putnam, who retired, took the oath administered by Mayor Dayton King.
Groff, who King said will be paid about $87,500 per year, was named the Gloversville department’s battalion chief in 2006 and has remained with the second battalion since.
“It is going to be a challenge, for sure,” Groff said, “but not in a bad way.”
Speaking to the crowd, Groff thanked his fellow firefighters, who urged him to take the position.
“We are going to go forward and do the best we can,” Groff said.
He said he had a few ideas going forward, adding Whitman-Putnam left the department in good shape.
“We are going to keep it going, we are going to recruit the best volunteers possible, train as high of a level of service as possible, take care of the citizens and keep them safe,” Groff said.
King said Groff has been held in high esteem during his more than 20 years of service with the department. For example, Groff earned an award for valor while responding to a structure fire at Forest Hill Towers in 1996, the mayor said.
Whitman-Putnam, who retired after 27 years of service and a little more than three years as chief, said, “The department will always be a part of my life, and it has been for years. I am excited for Chief Groff to take over. I have worked with him for over 20 years. He is a great person, he is knowledgeable and he has experience, and I will be there for him.”
Groff, who joined the city Fire Department in 1991, also served as the Northville Volunteer Fire Department chief.
Groff said he has stepped down from the Northville post to serve Gloversville.
Groff’s brother, Northampton Supervisor and Northville firefighter James Groff, said Thomas Groff may still continue to serve as a volunteer firefighter in Northville.
James Groff said his brother has earned the Gloversville chief position.
James Groff took part in the ceremony, placing a new set of pins to his brother’s uniform.
“I am happy for him. He has really done a good job,” James Groff said.
Thomas Groff’s first official day as chief will be Sept. 1.
The mayor released no further details Thursday about Groff’s compensation or benefits.
City council member Robin Wentworth said this morning Groff’s appointment would be done annually and there are no automatic pay increases for him.
She did not have details about Groff’s health insurance benefits readily available this morning.