EAST PROVIDENCE — Oscar Elmasian has been tabbed by City Manager Peter Graczykowski in the interim to succeed retiring East Providence Fire Department Chief Joseph Klucznik, The Post learned Friday, Dec. 28.
The city manager issued a press release on the matter later in the day.
Captain Elmasian accepted the promotion on a six-month basis. He relinquishes part of his current duties as the city fire marshal, a majority of which will likely fall to Lt. James Bellamy, his cohort in the EPFD’s Fire Prevention Bureau.
“Leaving my current job as fire marshal is difficult. It’s a good job,” Interim Chief Elmasian said Friday by phone. “But I guess you could say this is the next step up. I look forward to the challenge.”
Interim Chief Elmasian takes over a department in transition with two major station reconstruction projects about to begin. He’ll now oversee the complete remodeling of Station 4 as well as a considerable facelift of the department’s headquarters at Station 1. The projects come at a cost of $6-plus million.
“There are a lot of things going on out there. The department faces some challenges with the station rehabilitation projects. There’s a lot of work to do,” Interim Chief Elmasian added.
Not wanting to speculate on the future, Interim Chief Elmasian said he will wait to determine his level of interest in possibly applying for the position on a full-time basis.
“I was asked if I would accept the position on a six-month basis, and I said I would. I was also asked if I had interest in applying for the job permanently, but I’ll address that at a later date,” Interim Chief Elmasian explained. “I want to wait and see what the job entails. I’ll access the situation and determine my level of interest in the position near the end of the temporary period.”
Chief Klucznik announced his resignation last week after serving six-and-a-half years as the department supervisor, citing concerns about possible contractual changes. He leaves after spending some 26 years on the EPFD roster. Interim Chief Elmasian formally takes over the top job as of 4 o’clock Sunday afternoon, Dec. 30, the official end time of Chief Klucznik’s tenure.
“I wanted to leave on my terms. I think me leaving is probably best for the city, best for the department. This isn’t about Joe Klucznik. This is about the East Providence Fire Department and the City of East Providence,” Chief Klucznik also said by phone Friday.
He added, “I think Oscar will do a good job as acting chief. There are a lot of people here who would do a good job in this position. But how that shakes out, I don’t know.”