Board sets schedule for hiring fire chief

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TURNER – Selectmen reminded recently resigned fire Chief Steven A. Fish on Monday night that appointment of a fire chief is the duty of the board alone, and set a firm schedule for that process to be completed by July 3.

Fish suggested the board grant seats on an interviewing panel for two volunteer firefighters and proposed that firefighters be given two votes on the actual appointment of the new chief.

His suggestion came after he charged the board with “changing history” when it did not follow firefighters’ recommendation to appoint Assistant Chief Shane Arsenault to the top spot at the May 1 meeting when Fish tendered his resignation, effective immediately. The board voted to appoint Arsenault interim chief until a permanent chief is appointed, and assured him he was welcome to submit an application.

Board Chairman Dennis Richardson hastily reminded Fish “that interviews for appointments are conducted in executive sessions, that such appointments are made solely by the Board of Selectmen, and that legal process does not alter history in any way.”

The board then set a June 8 deadline for applications for the chief’s post; Monday, June 12, for screening the applications; June 20 for conducting interviews, and July 3 for making the appointment.

Prior to that discussion, firefighters said they are making progress in getting a fire vehicle back on line that has been sitting idle for two years. Necessary parts have been ordered, it will get a brake job, rusted doors will be repaired, and it will get two new front tires, and four rear recaps. An old tanker sitting behind the main fire station will be put out to bid.

On the road again, the board will meet at Pleasant Pond Road for a site review of the Hogan property at 6 p.m. Monday, May 22, and reconvene at the town office at 7 p.m. to take action on fixing the decade-long problem of flooding and mud on Harlow Hill Road, which selectmen visited last week.

Josh Morris, who serves on the SAD 52 Board of Directors for Turner, was appointed to serve as Turner’s representative to the Androscoggin County Budget Committee.

Turner will host the annual tri-town meeting of selectmen on June 22 and Town Manager James Catlin said he would take the opportunity to discuss further joint purchases with Greene and Leeds in the areas of heating and vehicle fuel.

Selectman Charlie Mock said he would like to discuss the possibility of joint purchases of fire and rescue equipment and gear. Several selectmen agreed that discussion of joint purchases, shared services and other consolidations should be discussed.

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