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Calvi, a deputy chief with the Agawam Fire Department, as the new head of the Springfield Fire Department.

Sarno said Calvi was selected from among 33 total candidates and six semifinalists. Sarno said that following a rigorous interview process, Calvi rose to “the top of the heap” among the candidates.

“He’s a go getter, hands on, and very well versed in firefighting and community engagement,” Sarno said of Calvi.

“He showed a strong command, and a vision for our fire department to take it to the next level,
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” Sarno said.

Calvi’s appointment is for a 5 year term at a starting salary of $145,000. His salary as a deputy fire chief in Agawam last year was $92,000 according to the Agawam town budget.

He is to succeed Fire Commissioner Joseph Conant, who was named fire commissioner in 2013. Sarno announced last year he would not seek to renew Conant’s contract.

The mayor never explained why he made that decision but it followed a public disagreement between him and Conant over the residency requirements for some of his deputy chiefs.

Sarno announced he would not renew Conant’s contract right after Conant declined to discipline Deputy Glenn Guyer for not moving back to Springfield within the timeframe required by the city following his appointment to the deputy position.

In Calvi’s case, the residency issue is moot. Although he is employed with the Agawam Fire Department, he and his wife, Carrie, have resided in Springfield for the last 6 1/2 years.

Sarno made the announcement in a brief ceremony in City Hall. Plante and Police Commissioner John Barbieri. Several city councilors were present as well.

Sarno thanked Conant for his service to the city as commissioner,
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and promised there would be a “smooth transition of power, and our fire department will remain very well respected on that.”

Sarno said Salvi was selected at the end of an extensive search and selection process.

The nationwide search attracted 33 applicants, Sarno said. This was whittled down to six semifinalists, and Sarno said four were external candidates, or from outside the city, and two were internal.

Each of the semifinalists was invited in for an extensive interview with the selection committee.

The selection committee consisted of Sarno, Plante, Director of Human Resources and Labor Relations Attorney William Mahoney,
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and Sarno’s chief of staff, Denise Jordan.

Sarno said each semifinalist was grilled in the areas of general issues, community relations, administration, operations and squad analysis. It also included running through hypothetical scenarios.

Sarno said Calvi stood out for his ability to speak succinctly and directly to answer questions.

Sarno in his introduction spent several moments listing Calvi’s qualifications, starting with his having completed his training in the former Springfield Fire Academy in the mid 90s.

He noted how Calvi is a certified EMT, that he worked his way up the ranks as a firefighter, first as a volunteer in Clarksburg,
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and then with Agawam beginning in 1995. Calvi was promoted to lieutenant in 2002 and deputy chief in 2012.

In his brief statement after Sarno’s introduction, he said he thanked Sarno for his selection and his confidence. “I look forward to taking over the department and leading the department of the future,” he said. “I believe I have a very strong leadership and management style that will bring the department forward.”

He said he looked forward to working with everyone in the department, and with everyone in the city.

The first question asked when the floor was opened up to the press was about the differences in size between the Agawam and Springfield fire departments, and how Calvi would be able to manage a larger department.

The Agawam Fire Department has 57 fulltime firefighters and 13 reserves, while Springfield, with 237 fulltime firefighters, is more than 4 times that size.

He replied that with proper management and delegation of responsibilities,
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size doesn’t matter.

“Leadership is leadership,” he said. “If you keep it manageable and delegate appropriately, leading one department is the same as the other.”