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City fire chief resigns

Derrick Clark returns to interim post after less than three months

Shane Caskanette

Shane Caskanette

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

Oshawa councillors got some surprising news during their final meeting of 2016 when it was announced Shane Caskanette, the city’s new fire chief, had resigned.

The news took the councillors and Mayor John Henry off guard, as a motion hit the floor to appoint deputy chief Derrick Clark as the interim fire chief until a replacement could be found. Clark served in the role after former chief Steve Meringer retired earlier this year and before Caskanette was hired in September.

“It did catch us totally off guard,” said Henry, noting the decision had nothing to do with his job peformance, but that Caskanette had some “personal issues” he needed to deal with, adding that he would not comment on it further.

A news release from the city following the meeting announced the resignation was due to “family circumstances.” Caskanette could not be reached for comment.

“It’s something that’s important for him and I wish him great success,” the mayor said.

Caskanette was officially appointed as the city’s fire chief during a meeting of council on Sept. 19 and worked up until his resignation on Dec. 16, where he worked on and was present for the city’s budget meeting that day.

Previously, he’d spent time in many different aspects of municipal fire services. Starting his career in Woodstock, he worked his way up the ranks, holding such positions as the captain of the fire training division and the deputy fire chief. Most recently, Caskanette was the deputy fire chief for the Town of Richmond Hill.

City manager Jag Sharma said he would be unable to provide any further details at this time about the process going forward to hire a new chief. However, it was stated it would begin in the new year and the same recruiter would be used that was utilized during the previous round of hiring.

“Budgets will take precedent of course, and in the meantime we’ll relook at this in the new year, but I have absolute total confidence in Chief Clarke to cover as he did the last time when we were looking for a chief,” says Henry.