Selectman wants to reconsider contract

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RUMFORD – Selectmen will decide in the next few days whether to request a reopening of the three-year contract with Rumford Fire Department employees.

At Thursday’s meeting, newly elected Selectman Frank DiConzo requested that the town take another look at the 24-on, 24-off work schedule for firefighters with an eye toward reducing the amount of overtime.

But Chairman Greg Buccina said he wanted to look at all the figures, now being prepared by fire Chief John Woulfe, before deciding whether to try to reopen the contract that just began July 1.

Woulfe will present Town Manager Jim Doar and selectmen with overtime figures within the next few days. Then, if the data supports a potential change to save money, the board will meet in closed session at their next regular meeting on July 19 to decide whether to reopen the contract.

Town attorney Jennifer Kreckel said neither side can open negotiations in a settled contract without a specific reason.

DiConzo said the amount of money paid out for overtime has not lessened since the new contract was signed and the new work schedule has begun.

“What we agreed to has not been accomplished,” he said.

Both sides have 30 days from the signing of a negotiated contract to request that it be reopened, said Doar.

In other matters, the board presented former Selectman Jim Thibodeau with a gift and certificate of appreciation for the many years he has given on behalf of municipal matters.

Buccina said that among Thibodeau’s achievements were 15 years as a selectman, including most as chairman, service on the Med-Care Board, Board of Assessors, Finance Committee, and water district board. He continues to serve on the Charter Commission and, with a new appointment made later in the meeting, as an alternate member on the Planning Board.

Thibodeau thanked the board, office employees and the town for the honor, but said the award would be more appropriate if it had gone to his family.

“We planned our vacations around meetings,” he said. “In 15 years, I missed one selectmen’s meeting. I want to continue to serve and I still have the best interest of the town at heart.”

The board also chose Frank Bulger as the town’s Citizen of the Year. Bulger has volunteered at the information center for many years, and prior to that, worked for the school department.

A separate award ceremony to honor Bulger will take place at a board meeting later in the summer.

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