Prudential committee names new Fire District 2 chief
After months of meetings, controversy and deliberation, Dartmouth’s Fire District 2 has a new chief.
The Fire District 2 Prudential Committee appointed Erick Turcotte, a current lieutenant with Dartmouth’s Fire District 1, as District 2 chief beginning on Dec. 27.
Turcotte succeeds Deputy Chief Wayne Thomas who has served as acting District 2 fire chief since Nov. 16. Thomas himself took over for former acting chief Greg Edgcomb, who was dismissed from the position after implying that he might take legal action against the district over open meeting law violations.
Scott Brooks II, a sergeant in the Dartmouth Police Department who was previously considered for the position, withdrew his application, said the prudential committee.
The committee did not specify the reason for Brooks’ withdrawal.
According to District Counsel Anthony Savastano, Turcotte will start with a $92,500 salary with $2,000 increases each year over his three-year contract. According to the contract, he will also have 15 vacation days and 10 sick days.
The salary for District 2 chief has been a point of contention in previous meetings.
The previous prudential committee had negotiated a salary of $115,000 with Edgcomb, an amount that was approved at the district’s annual meeting. However, newly-elected committee members Bob Bouley and Bill Coutu preferred a salary range of just $85,000 to $95,000.
The controversy surrounding the search for a new Fire District 2 chief has largely centered around these salary negotiations.
Turcotte has been a firefighter for 25 years, he said, and becoming a fire chief has been a longstanding goal.
“As I got into fire service I realized how much I loved it and how important it is for the community,” he said.
He was first introduced to fire fighting by his father-in-law, who was a Dartmouth District 1 firefighter.
During his interview, Turcotte emphasized his experience with fire inspections and investigations.
“I’ve done every kind of inspection out there from fire alarms to sprinklers — residential to commercial,” he said.
When asked about his weaknesses, Turcotte explained that he often has issues delegating tasks to others.
“When I delegate I try to oversee it a lot,” he said. “But that’s something for me to work on.”
According to the prudential committee, the position of fire chief requires 15 years of firefighting experience with at least five years in a command position.
According to Turcotte, he has been head inspector at Fire District 1 since 2015 and has been a fire investigator since 2006. He is also a certified EMT who has worked for Brewster Ambulance service since 2018, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Turcotte did not list any command experience during his interview.
“My biggest goal is to make sure the residents of the district are safe,” he said. “And to do whatever we can do to protect life and safety.”
In order to get Turcotte accommodated in the new role in time, the Prudential Committee voted to waive the requirement that the chief find residence in the district within nine months.
According to Turcotte, he currently lives six miles away from the District 2 fire station.
“The prudential committee put a good faith obligation on [Turcotte] to sell his current residence and buy a new residence,” said Savastano
“We’re flexible on the residency because of the cost of real estate,” added Prudential Committee Member Ralph Medeiros.
Members of the audience joked that there is a house currently for sale across the street from the District 2 fire station.
“We wish Erick all the best,” said Mediros.