UTICA – The city of Utica’s new temporary fire chief has officially taken over the job.
Chief James Barefoot was sworn into the position on Monday afternoon at Utica City Hall.
Several weeks ago, Mayor Robert Palmieri selected James Barefoot to take over as temporary chief of the Utica Fire Department after former Temporary Chief John Kelly announced his resignation, effective July 1.
Kelly’s resignation followed controversy about text message conversations between himself and a possible fire department candidate, which spanned across several years and were sexual in nature.
Barefoot served as a member of the Utica Fire Department for 32 years, raising to the rank of captain, before retiring in 2012.
“They've put a lot of faith in me and I’m going to do everything I can to live up to the expectations," Barefoot said. "It made it very real, the swearing in ... I've known this was coming for the last two weeks and this morning it just makes it very real."
Barefoot insists his role will be temporary, and that he will aide in the transition of finding a new chief to replace him.