CANTON – Members of the Fire Department shared their thoughts Monday night about who selectmen should appoint to replace Fire Chief Shane Gallant.

Gallant, who has been chief for five years,  submitted his resignation, effective June 30.

Board of Selectmen Chairman Donny Hutchins asked the 14 firefighters to speak about what they’re looking for most in a new fire chief.

Lt. Sherman Bradeen said he was looking for someone “a lot like Shane — someone who is dedicated, knows what they’re doing, is qualified, and has the right personality to be in the position.”

“It’s going to be hard to fill Shane’s shoes,” Bradeen said. “He put a lot of time and dedication into the position.”

Dan Pelletier agreed. “It’s going to be hard to find somebody to step in. I wish you guys could work something out with Shane to keep him here.”

Some residents suggested the board give Gallant a substantial raise to keep him.

Gallant said his resignation “had nothing to do with money, or anything connected to monetary issues.”

“This isn’t the meeting to discuss that,” he said. “That’s for a meeting between me, the board, and my deputies. I just want people to know that it’s not a money issue.”

“It seems like dedication to the job is the No. 1 thing you guys are looking for, followed by time management,” Hutchins said. “Other things you guys mentioned are honesty, a good personality, and making sure they’re qualified for the position.”

Hutchins said he was hoping to advertise for the position through the newspaper and social media.

“If we can let people know through word-of-mouth, maybe we can get a variety of candidates to apply,” he said. “I would also like to see a couple of firefighters sit in on the interview board. I think that the Fire Department should have some say in who they hire as their new chief.”

Paul Moisan with the Fire Department said he wanted to see “a little more communication between the Board of Selectmen and the Fire Department.

“If you’re not supporting your fire chief 100 percent, then you’re doing your Fire Department a disservice,” Moisan told the board.

Selectman Malcolm Ray said, to his knowledge, the board “never asked for Shane’s resignation,” and that he “always appreciated his hard work.”

“The chief’s job is hard,” Ray said. “The ugly truth is there’s a lot of paperwork and budget stuff that they have to deal with, and there’s not a lot of glory in that.”

Ray told Gallant, “I just wanted to make sure you know that I appreciate your hard work. Thank you for the five years of good service.”

Ray also said he “appreciated the hard work and sacrifice that the rest of the firefighters put in.”

“You guys are the ones who run into the burning houses to make sure the rest of us get out of trouble,” Ray said. “I know there’s friction right now, and I’m not sure where it came from, but I appreciate the work everyone does.”

Ray said the department should contact the board “any time you want to schedule a meeting to discuss things. We want to make sure we meet as much as possible, because we want your ideas and input,” he  said.

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