Nicole Antonucci/Recorder staff Michael Whitty takes the oath of office as Amsterdam's new fire chief as it is administered by Mayor Ann Thane Monday at City Hall.
By NICOLE ANTONUCCI
The Amsterdam Fire Depart-ment welcomed Michael Whitty as its new chief Monday during a special ceremony in City Hall.
Family members, friends and colleagues gathered in the lobby to watch Whitty be sworn in by Mayor Ann Thane and Assemblyman Angelo Santabar-bara, D-Rotterdam.
"It is a proud day here in Amsterdam and I am proud to welcome Michael Whitty as the chief of the city fire department," Thane said before turning to the guess of honor. "You have been chosen by your virtue, value and leadership to be chief and now your duties go beyond responding to emergencies."
As chief, Whitty is responsible for managing the firefighters and staffing; handling expenses and other budgetary impacts that could affect the health of the city; be a problem solver; and model the behavior in the employee handbook while on duty and off.
"Your actions on and off duty reflect on the city of Amsterdam, its personnel and the level of service the city provides to the citizens," Thane said. "The job of chief is intense, its demands are extreme, and requires an individual's full attention."
Santabarbara acknowledged Whitty's 26 years of public service and welcomed him as the new chief.
"I know the city is in good hands," he said.
After taking the oath of office, Whitty thanked the crowd for its support. When the crowd called for a speech, Whitty pointed to his colleagues.
"The bulk of the work goes to those guys," he said of his fellow firefighters, stating that without them, the job would be a lot more difficult.
Whitty has been with the fire department since 1988, a career choice he made when he was 26 years old because he wanted to raise a family in Amsterdam. Since then, he has moved up the ranks, serving as firefighter, battalion chef and now chief, a role he said he never considered until recently.
"I am excited to get started," Whitty said after the ceremony. "My goal is to keep the department moving in a proactive and progressive manner by keeping up to date on training and making sure the guys have the equipment they need."
Whitty is replacing former chief Richard Liberti, who officially retired Monday morning. Liberti was among those in the crowd Monday.
"Whitty is a good choice," Liberti said. "He is well prepared for the job. I am pleased. I think we are in good hands."