RUMFORD – Selectmen on Thursday accepted the resignation of fire Chief John Woulfe.

Woulfe, a nine-year veteran of the Rumford Fire Department who came to town from West Hartford, Conn., is leaving his post to take a position with the International Association of Fire Chiefs in Washington, D.C.

He thanked former Town Manager Robert Welch for giving a “flatlander” a chance, and also thanked former Town Manager Steve Eldridge for supporting his vision of a professional fire service.

Woulfe’s last day on the job will be April 6.

Thursday’s meeting was quieter than those of the past few weeks, with selectmen occupied by routine municipal matters and residents expressing appreciation that turbulent town issues have subsided.

Rob Cameron, a longtime resident and former state legislator, said he was pleased to see that differences have been resolved.

“I’m concerned about the ‘gotcha’ attitude over the past few years. We have a declining population and little to offer for employment, abandoned buildings and storefronts. But on the plus side, this has been democracy at its finest,” he told selectmen. “There are people who care deeply for this community, some of the best outdoor activities and architecture, a fine, professional young man leading our community. These good things and others are the building blocks for Rumford. We must put aside our differences and I hope we have seen the end of animosity.”

In other matters, selectmen agreed to ban parking along a section of York Street near Rumford Elementary School.

The board unanimously approved eliminating parking on the sidewalk side of York Street between Essex and Lincoln avenues in front of the school during the hours of 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. during school days. Selectmen were acting on a request by the SAD 43 buildings, grounds and transportation director, Tom Sinclair.

Sinclair said the traffic congestion at that section of the street presents a safety issue for students.

He had originally wanted that section of York Street to become one way, but agreed to give the compromise solution a try.

Also Thursday, complaints were lodged about the condition and potential safety issues associated with the recent roof cave-in at the former Puiia building located at the foot of Falls Hill. The roof collapse last weekend caused the exterior walls to buckle and window glass to break.

Town Manager Jim Doar said the building’s owner, Mike Hammond, is working with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to take it down. He expects that to happen sometime next week.

The board also:

• appointed Jennifer Kramer as the Rumford Police Department’s new patrol officer. She had been serving as a utility officer;

• plan to schedule a special meeting with SAD 43 Superintendent Jim Hodgkin to discuss the possibility of partnering with two area school districts;

• learned that the winter roads account is $40,000 over budget;

• met in closed session to discuss a complaint lodged by Jim Barnett against Public Works Director Andy Russell.


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