RUMFORD – Rumford selectmen will meet at 9 a.m. Thursday in the 11th District Court jury room in the municipal building to choose an interim town manager.

That was decided after selectmen learned late Tuesday night that newly-elected Chairman J. Arthur Boivin was forbidden from serving as interim town manager, according to Town Manager Jim Doar.

“They will vote on an interim town manager or not to pick one, but I’m anticipating them picking an interim town manager,” Doar said Wednesday afternoon in the town office. “This is coming as a surprise to me, too. They thought Arthur could be the town manager, but the charter and state law won’t allow it.”

Doar, who was hired as Rumford’s town manager in June 2007, opted not to renew his contract in April. Tuesday was to have been his last day. However, he said he decided to stay on for two more days because selectmen had made no plans to replace him.

Following Tuesday night’s town meeting referendum and municipal elections, Doar said the charter required selectmen to immediately conduct an organization meeting after one selectman was re-elected and another replaced Chairman Greg Buccina.

They are incumbent Mark Belanger, who received 584 votes, and Robert A. Cameron, who got 758 votes. Selectman Frank DiConzo was chosen as vice chairman.

Regarding the tallies for the other four candidates for selectmen, incumbent Greg Buccina got 547 votes, Jeremy Vashaw got 262 votes, Jason Thompson got 213 votes and write-in candidate Richard O. White got 43.

In other town meeting balloting, a majority of voters reduced the budgets of police and fire by siding with respective Finance Committee recommendations of $824,000 and $707,900.

The police budget votes were 617 to go with the committee, over 443 for the selectmen recommendation of $913,600. The Fire Department tallies were 659 to go with the committee, over 425 votes for the selectmen recommendation of $799,900.

Doar said that means both departments will have to change the way they operate.

“It means two positions will be lost on the Police Department and, I think, the Fire Department will have to lay two people off,” he said.

Police Chief Stacy Carter said Wednesday afternoon in the town office that voters gave him about $90,000 less to work with. Additionally, Rumford’s two sergeants will have to do field calls now rather than being supervisors who assisted patrolmen with overflow calls and did administrative duties.

“It means we still have to do the same amount of work, but with two less people,” Carter said. “And, looking at the blotter from last week, where there was an increase in motor vehicle thefts, the department will now be stretched thin. However, we’re going to make some adjustments and carry on our mission as best we can.”

Carter said that prior to the Finance Committee making its decision for the police budget, Rumford police had two open positions and were involved in the hiring process. That decision put a hiring freeze on and the voters decision eliminated the positions.

“We will provide law enforcement to the best of our ability and make adjustments, but I’m asking citizens to be patient if our response time is increased or our availability becomes reduced,” Carter said.

Acting fire Chief Richard Coulombe was in Augusta on Wednesday afternoon and unavailable for comment.

However, at a public hearing last month on the municipal budget, Coulombe said cutting his budget to $707,900 would cut the department to nine people, likely leaving only two firefighters on duty during some shifts.


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