Livermore Falls seeks fire chief

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LIVERMORE FALLS — The town manager is seeking applicants for the fire chief. The pay for the job is a stipend of $3,600 a year, plus $9 an hour for fire related calls.

Town Manager Jim Chaousis informed selectmen Monday that he had put out an advertisement for the position and that he put together a job description for a Fire Department chief of operations.

Previously Fire Department members elected a chief every two years. That person’s name was put forth to selectmen to consider for appointment.

That process changed after Fire Chief Mark Chretien resigned unexpectedly as chief in April. Interim Fire Chief Ron Leclerc has since appointed Chretien as a captain in the department.

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Chaousis said he decided to make the change to try and prevent a turnover in chiefs.

There have been two chiefs, not counting Leclerc, since former Chief Ken Jones left in 2008. Jones had served on the department for 31 years, 15 of those as chief.

Fire Department members may apply for the job, Chaousis said.

Chaousis is putting together an interview panel for the position. Selectmen Jackie Knight and Alphonso Barker both requested to serve on it. Knight backed out saying it was best if Barker was on the Committee in case she is not re-elected in June.

The hope is to have a chief hired by the end of June.

Leclerc declined comment on the chief appointment process on Tuesday.

In other business Tuesday, selectmen also voted to no longer allow political statements to be included in the annual town report.

Barker asked if it was the town’s policy to allow political opinions in the town report.

He brought into question the paragraph in Police Chief Ernest Steward’s letter in this year’s town report. It says the Police Department is seeking support for a “no” vote on Article 40, the referendum question to allow selectmen to look into other law enforcement agencies for town coverage.

“A strong showing of support now may curtail the stress on officers that the dispatchers had to endure for over eight years,” Steward wrote. “If you want to keep the Police Department please vote no.”

Voters eliminated the local emergency dispatch in late 2009. Prior to that there were discussions and straw votes over whether to eliminate dispatching services to go with Androscoggin County.

Barker said he understood the stress on police officers but didn’t think the town report was the place to put in a political opinion.

Fellow selectmen agreed.

Chaousis said he read the chief’s letter but “cowardly backed away” about doing anything about it.

“Our annual repors is designed to be about what happened in the past,” Chaousis said. “I don’t agree with it.”

Selectman Bill Demaray said when he was chairman he wrote a letter to update residents on what went on during the last year.

“The town report is not a place to put an opinion,” Demaray said.

He said nothing could be done about the past but it could be prohibited in the future.

Chaousis said he would check to see if the report has been printed, and if not, he would try to have the paragraph deleted. He also said he would try to delete it from the online report at www.lfme.org.

Steward declined comment on the issue Tuesday.

In other matters, Chaousis informed the board that a bid for concrete for the transfer station was awarded to Barker Construction Inc. of Leeds for a bid of $9,600. The company is owned by Thomas Barker of Livermore Falls, Selectman Barker’s father.

The other bid was from Livermore Concrete LLC of Livermore for $12,417.

dperry@sunjournal.com

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