CAMPBELL Court action continues over fire post
The city believes all three applicants should be allowed to test for the chief position.
By PAUL WHEATLEY
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
CAMPBELL -- A court-ordered retest for the city's fire chief position has been scheduled for Nov. 27, but the field of applicants for the position may be scaled down.
Of the city's 10 firefighters, Capts. Eugene Skelley, Nick Hrelec and David Horvath have applied to take the examination. Only captains are eligible for the post.
However, Hrelec's lawyers, who originally asked that a retest be given for the position and who were granted that motion in September, have asked the 7th District Court of Appeals to clarify whether Skelley is eligible for the test.
Brian Macala, the city's law director, has also asked the court for clarification.
History: The history of the position is muddled in court rulings, terminations and appointments that go back to 1996 when then-chief Roy Stanfar suffered a heart attack. Horvath was appointed to the position that year, by former mayor George Tablack, after Stanfar was terminated.
The five following years were dotted with court hearings regarding Stanfar's termination.
Hrelec and Horvath also filed court petitions in their battle for the position. Horvath prevailed, until now, and has served as fire chief for about six years.
Now Hrelec's lawyers think Skelley is ineligible for the test since he was not promoted to the rank of captain until Sept. 4, 1997, about two months after they say the city should have given examinations for the chief position -- after Stanfar left.
Both Horvath's attorney and the city's law department believe Skelley should be allowed to test. Skelley could not be reached for comment.