The first, she said in an e-mail, would be to bring forward recommendations to transform the Gloucester Fire Department into what she called a 21st Century fire and emergency medical service provider. Secondly, she said, she'd like him "to restore the trust and pride of the community in the department."
That sounds nice, but without funding, said firefighter's union president Phil Bouchie, no fire chief will be able to improve response times or get the outlying stations open.
"Funding is the issue that will determine if the fire chief can get open stations," Bouchie said.
Whether the department has the money to work with, he said, is up to Kirk and the council. The union, he added, wants to improve the response times and fire service for the city as well, and will work with Smith to get the job done.
"The union is open-minded," he said. "We'll accept him in his position and we'll work with him."
Smith's approval came through an often rocky search process that drew questions over his qualifications and the city's New Hampshire-based search consultant Municipal Resources Incorporated. The ordinance asked for three years experience as a deputy chief, and Smith met that through equivalent experience.
Because of that, said former City Councilor Jason Grow, the council has to take both the police and fire chief search ordinances back to committee and revise them. The council's approval he said, made Smith's work more difficult.
"It created a massively more difficult row for him to hoe, not that he can't do it," Grow said, "but he's starting out hobbled by the fact that a lot of people are saying this was an inappropriate way of interpreting the law."
The ordinance, he added, needs to be fixed so those clouds don't appear again.
Hobbs, who served on the committee, agreed. He said the length of the process lost the city some applicants. Including the sixth semifinalist who couldn't make it to the assessment center. The ordinance itself, he said, needs tweaking in several places.
"We can't do this process to take 10 months or a year again," he said.
It's Smith's kind of perspective that reinforces why the council took the Fire Chief's position out of Civil Service, said former City Councilor Jason Grow.
Grow said when the council took the position out, they did it to open the door to other people who might be qualified to lead the department from outside. But, when Smith comes in, Grow said, his best tools will be on either side of his head.
"I don't think he's going to be successful if he walks in and says 'this is how we're going to do things from here on,'" Grow said, "He needs to listen and learn before he can lead."
City Councilor Jackie Hardy, who didn't return calls for this story, said she's filing two council orders to bring the search ordinances in for revision.
Despite the bumpy process, however, Grow said he supports the reason for doing it. Smith's kind of perspective that reinforces why the council took the fire chief's position out of Civil Service, said Grow.