Fire District 2 committee extends deadline for fire chief applications

Sep 13, 2022

The search for a District 2 fire chief is still ongoing after the district’s prudential committee decided at its Sept. 12 meeting to extend the deadline for applications until Sept. 16.

The district has been without a permanent fire chief since former chief Tim Andre resigned from the position in November 2021.

Acting Chief Greg Edgcomb has been leading the department since then and looked likely to receive a permanent contract until two of the three members of the district’s governing prudential committee were replaced in April.

The new members, Bob Bouley and Bill Coutu, have been highly reluctant to name Edgcomb as the permanent replacement to Andre, citing his salary request of $115,000 as being too high for a small department, despite an appropriation of that amount being passed at the district’s annual meeting in May.

With the two parties unable to agree on a salary, the prudential committee has elected to seek other candidates, publishing a job listing for the position last month with a salary range of $85,000 to $95,000 a year.

According to Bouley, the committee has received three applications for the position so far, including one from Edgcomb.

However, Bouley couldn’t say if any of the candidates — other than Edgcomb — lived in the district, a requirement of the job.

“I haven’t really looked at them,” he said.

Bouley said that the committee would establish a subcommittee to interview and assess the candidates at its next meeting, which will be held on Oct. 17.

At the meeting, committee member Ralph Medeiros put forward a motion to halt the search for candidates and initiate contract discussions with Edgcomb, offering him the equivalent of $115,000 a year prorated for the nine months remaining in the fiscal year.

“I think we should just move past this and get on with business,” he said.

But Medeiros’ motion failed to garner a second, just as a similar motion had done at the committee’s previous meeting.

Instead, Bouley moved the meeting on without comment.

“Since we don’t have a second… Well, anyway,” he said.

Shortly after, Edgcomb revealed that he had met privately with Coutu recently and asked him if their discussion had changed his perspective at all.

Coutu had refused to engage in a discussion about hiring Edgcomb when Medeiros proposed it at the previous meeting, saying that he would need to meet with the interim chief before making a decision.

But Coutu had little to say on the matter, indicating only that he was still not willing to support Edgcomb for the role.

Edgcomb’s interim contract was nevertheless extended into November to keep him in the position until the committee makes a final decision.

At the end of the meeting, the Prudential Committee opened the discussion to public comment from audience members who had written letters to the committee. 

Several community members took the opportunity to speak, expressing support for Edgcomb and frustration at the committee for what they saw as a needlessly time-consuming and unstructured hiring process.