GREENWOOD — Selectmen unanimously accepted the resignation of Fire Department Chief Jim Owens at a special meeting on Monday.
Town Manager Kim Sparks said Owens’ resignation will become effective July 1. Until then, Owens will not be performing any duties related to the chief’s position. Assistant Chief Albert Curtis Jr. will serve as acting chief in the interim.
Sparks said she could not discuss the specifics of the resignation because it was a personnel issue. Other officials also said they could not go into detail about the matter.
“It’s a situation that’s been building for some time and it’s just sort of come to a head,” Selectman Arnold Jordan said. “I think it was something that was bound to happen sooner or later.”
“There’s some things within the department and some things outside the department,” Curtis said. “I’m not really at liberty to discuss that.”
Owens, who also works with Tri-Town Rescue in West Paris, declined to comment on his resignation.
Sparks said he served as fire chief for four years, and was paid a part-time salary for administrative tasks with separate pay for the department’s response to emergency calls.
“We never at any time questioned his knowledge about firefighting,” Arnold said. “He is very knowledgeable. He qualified for the position.”
Sparks said Greenwood was operating in a different manner from other local fire departments in giving Owens a salary. She said she believes that most local fire chiefs receive a stipend of $3,000 to $5,000. Owens received an annual salary of $13,500.
“I know our residents would like a lot less pay,” Sparks said. “But at town meeting (on May 22) they didn’t cut the budget any.”
Sparks said town officials have not yet discussed a pay scale or salary for Curtis.
Curtis said Owens will assist the department in work related to a recent grant. The department received a $33,528 grant through the operations and safety area of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant program earlier this year.
Curtis, 41, has been on the Fire Department since 1995. He said he was “looking forward to being able to work with our neighboring departments and bring our department to the next level of training.”