Fire Chief Albanese headed for new job in Chelsea, Mass.

Fire Chief Albanese headed for new job in Chelsea, Mass.

NORTH PROVIDENCE – Fire Chief Leonard “Lenny” Albanese, a 30-year career member of the North Providence Fire Department, is leaving North Providence to take the fire chief’s job in Chelsea, Mass.

Mayor Charles Lombardi, who’s known Albanese since working with his father as a volunteer firefighter, said he couldn’t be happier for the outgoing chief. He said he’s proud that the town’s chief was selected as part of a national search.

“I told them, ‘Look, don’t look any further, this is your guy,’ ” said Lombardi. “I’m so happy for him.”

Albanese will be missed in North Providence, said Lombardi, but he noted that the department is in better shape than ever to handle the departure thanks to the chief’s work.

“I feel like I’ve contributed what I can to North Providence,” said Albanese.

Lombardi said Albanese has always been “a chief’s chief.” The outgoing head of the department declined to take the North Providence chief’s job when it was offered to him eight years ago, he said, telling Lombardi that he needed more time as battalion chief.

Albanese commands respect from everyone he meets, said Lombardi, a trait that will serve him well in the next job.

Albanese, 51, told The Breeze that the Chelsea job was the first one he’s applied for outside of North Providence in his three decades on the job. Chelsea is a very similar community to North Providence in a lot of ways, he said, adding that he’ll be moving from North Providence to the Chelsea area to take the new job.

“It’s time for a new challenge,” he said. “It’s a good fit.”

He said he was honored to be considered the top candidate as part of a competitive national search for a new chief in Chelsea.

Albanese said he’s been at the North Providence job for six years, one of those as the interim chief, and has loved the work of helping to make it the best department in the state.

The achievement that he’s the most proud of was helping bring all sides together, after he became chief, for the betterment of the town and department, said Albanese. The fire department was in turmoil, with firefighters picketing Lombardi’s fundraiser after the closing of a fire station, and he and others were able to help “get the ship upright again,” said Albanese.

He noted that the department today is the only Class 1 department in the state, a classification that shows excellence across many categories. He’s leaving the department better than he found it, said Albanese, with a consistent program for the replacement of equipment and apparatus, great training programs and outstanding personnel making this one of the better departments anywhere.

The Chelsea job will pay Albanese significantly more than the $90,000 salary he’s been getting from North Providence, but the chief declined to say how much until after he officially signs the contract. By moving to a job in Massachusetts, Albanese earns the potential to get a second pension down the road. He has a three-year contract.

Lombardi said he always trusted Albanese to run the department the way it should be run, telling him only to hire “the best of the best” firefighters.

Albanese agreed with the assessment, saying he enjoyed working for Lombardi and is thankful for the opportunity the mayor gave him. He said Lombardi asked a lot of questions to make sure everything was being done professionally, but always let him do his job the way he saw fit.

According to Albanese, another of his accomplishments was bringing the kind of leadership desired by the next generation of firefighters. Today’s firefighters are looking to be better trained, better prepared and to have better equipment than those before them, he said, and he always kept those goals in the forefront. He said he’s part of the transitional group that brought firefighting into a new era.

Lombardi said he hasn’t yet decided where he’ll turn for the next chief, but said Deputy Chief Edward DiGiulio has done a great job as Albanese’s second in command. Albanese also said that DiGiulio would be a great pick to replace him, calling him smart and “an excellent adviser.”

Like North Providence, the Chelsea Fire Department is one with a rich firefighting tradition, said Albanese, and he sees no problem transitioning to the new job.

Comments

Hey, another pension lined up, he may be gone but NP will be remembering him every tax year for a long time. Albanese is a lot smarter than to stay in NP, what do they say about a sinking ship, those that know get off before it sinks.
The SS NP Titanic is on a collision course in financial waters, our good ex chief is smarter than the taxpayers.

We should be thanking him for a better fire department for us residents as well as lower insurance rates due to the ISO 1 rating. Seems the powers to be in MA felt he did a good job! Thanks Chief