FDNY Head to Step Down at End of Year

NEW YORK -- FDNY Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta announced yesterday in a letter sent to the department's staff that he will be stepping down from his post at the end of the year.

Scoppetta -- now in his eighth year -- wrote in the letter that he informed Mayor Michael Bloomberg of his decision in August but decided now to make it public.

"In August I met with Mayor Bloomberg and told him that, regardless of the outcome of the election in November, I would be leaving at the end of this year to pursue teaching opportunities -- a plan which I had put on hold in 2001 when he appointed me."

Prior taking over the FDNY just months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Scoppetta led the city's Administration for Children's Services.

"The indisputable fact is that today's FDNY is -- without question -- better prepared, better trained and better equipped than ever before," he wrote in the letter. "Fire deaths in the last eight years are the lowest on record. Our fire and EMS response times are the fastest on record. Last year, we had the fewest fires in the city in nearly 50 years. New Yorkers have never been better protected and served than under the past eight years of this administration."

Scoppetta also wrote in the letter that in his 47 years in government and public service, his greatest reward has been the opportunity to help rebuild the FDNY following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

"Like all New Yorkers, I wanted to help the city recover from the tragedy," he wrote. "It was an extraordinary honor to be asked to lead the FDNY -- which had come to symbolize the incomprehensible loss and, at the same time, the incredible strength and resiliency of our city and our nation."

There is no word on a replacement for Scoppetta and according to news reports, one will likely not be one named until after the city's November mayoral election.