Springfield city councilors have taken the first step towards changing the educational requirements for the job of fire commissioner.
The job currently requires a master's degree in fire sciences but Mayor Domenic Sarno is asking the council to change it to an associate's degree.
The council is now pushing forward an ordinance that would change it to 10 years of experience, at least five of those years at a district or deputy chief level.
It also would require the commissioner to either have a bachelor's degree or be working towards one.
Current acting Commissioner Joseph Conant is working towards his bachelor's degree.
Monday night, 139 firefighters signed a petition saying they stand by him and want to see him keep his job.
"That should send a big message to city council and to the residents that the men and women that wake up every day and fight the fires of the city, back the guy that's leading us," said David Wells, president of the firefighters union, Local 648.
The ordinance must now go through two more phases before being passed.
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