Switching spots

Shawn Goodell, riding shotgun in Morristown’s antique fire truck in a Fourth of July parade, will switch roles with Denny DiGregorio — Goodell will be first assistant chief, and DiGregorio will be fire chief for the Morristown Fire Department.

The former Morristown fire chief is now the new Morristown fire chief.

Denny DiGregorio, a Morristown firefighter for three decades, spent three years as the fire chief, giving way to Shawn Goodell in January 2017. Then, the two switched roles; DiGregorio went from chief to first assistant chief, while Goodell did the opposite.

Now, they’re switching back.

The Morristown Select Board approved the change Sept. 16.

“They’re both very capable; the fire department is still in good hands, no matter what,” said Dan Lindley, town administrator. The change takes effect the first full week of October, he said, so Goodell can oversee a special memorial service for Casey Kuhns, a Morristown firefighter who died unexpectedly in February 2018. Kuhns will be honored by the National Fallen Firefighters Association at a ceremony in Maryland just before Goodell and DiGregorio swap roles.

“I appreciate you stepping back up,” board member Eric Dodge told DiGregorio.

Goodell is changing roles because he’s starting a new job Sept 30. He’d been working in town, which allowed him to be part of nearly every fire call, but he’ll be working for the Vermont Division of Fire Safety as an assistant fire marshal, which requires hours on the road and regular office hours.

“I just won’t have the time to dedicate to it,” Goodell said of the chief’s job.

Goodell will also resign as deputy health officer. As part of that job, he regularly inspected buildings around town with health officer Todd Thomas, but that’s now a conflict of interest, he said.

Ergo, another role reversal.

Goodell and DiGregorio have a wealth of experience with the department. On top of DiGregorio’s three decades of service, Goodell has been a member for nearly two decades and has been an officer for eight years and counting.

“We work well together,” DiGregorio said back in 2017 when Goodell replaced him as chief. “It’s not a one-man show.”

“We will continue to work closely” in leading the 23-member department, Goodell said. He’ll actually keep some of the chief’s duties while DiGregorio takes others off his plate.

Goodell liked being chief, and “if the occasion arises, I would do it again.” He’s not sure where his new job will lead him, but “I’m always open to the possibility.”

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