The 76-year-old says he'll step down at the end of the year to pursue teaching opportunities, regardless of the result of next month's mayoral election. Scoppetta relayed the news to all FDNY personnel in a three-page letter today that touted his accomplishments, particularly rebuilding the department following the losses of September 11th.
"This is a department now that is better trained, better equipped, better prepared than it has ever been before," Scoppetta said. "The hardest part of this job has always been dealing with the families. Not just post-9/11, which of course was an enormous tragedy, enormous trauma. But we've had a number of line-of-duty deaths."
Scoppetta has had to weather some major controversies since Bloomberg appointed him to the post back in 2002, among them the Deutsche Bank tragedy that claimed the lives of two firefighters. He's also had a rocky relationship with rank-and-file firefighters, which has been often attributed to the fact Scoppetta himself never served as a firefighter.
In a statement, the president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York said "The Scoppetta years were not kind to the fire department."
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, meanwhile, praised the commissioner for his leadership and service.
Before becoming fire commissioner, Scoppetta was the first-ever Commissioner of the Administration for Children's Services under then mayor Rudy Giuliani. He said he met with Mayor Bloomberg in August to tell him he'd be stepping down.