FARMINGTON — At the Selectmen meeting Tuesday night, May 10, it was noted a search committee for the next Fire Rescue Chief would soon be started. Some in attendance felt there was a qualified candidate already in the department.

In the past a department head opening has been advertised, a hiring committee put together and a scoring system developed, Town Manager Christian Waller said. The process will be starting shortly, was held up due to budget approval by voters being postponed, he noted.

“So the decision is we are going to open it up for all applicants,” Selectman and firefighter Stephan Bunker asked. “I am probably too close to the process, I am in favor of the shorter route.”

“I think promoting from within is fantastic, especially when there is a qualified candidate,” Waller said. “I have every faith in Interim Chief (TD) Hardy but where we did that with my position and the police chief it would be prudent to keep that going forward to avoid any potential concerns about favoritism.”

Tim D. Hardy was named interim fire rescue chief Dec. 2, 2021, following the the resignation of Terry Bell on Nov. 30.

Take it on a case by case basis, there are exceptions in every situation, Deputy Chief S. Clyde Ross said. “I think in all fairness after six months this has gone on long enough, has caused a stir within the department,” he noted. “You have a qualified person in-house. I hope you give due consideration to that person prior to going nationwide so to speak. I know no specific reason not to look in-house. If there are things that need to be corrected I would like to hear them.”


“I have to agree,” resident Dennis O’Neil said. “I don’t think there is anything wrong with doing an in-house search first. Give employees a chance to move up, to be motivated to stay as opposed to immediately assuming there is some better candidate out there. There is no reason you can’t go out to search if you don’t find a qualified in-house candidate.

“Some departments are small enough you don’t have that [candidate], some may not have the qualifications to move up,” he noted. This isn’t nepotism to do something in-house for qualified long-term employees.”

This isn’t nepotism, just following the standard that has been set, Selectman Chair Matthew Smith said.

“I would remind everybody, at the end of the day it is the Town Manager’s choice not the board’s,” Smith said. “[The Town Manager] is in charge of personnel.”

Captain and former chief Terry Bell said in his personal opinion a search would be a waste of time and advertising dollars. “You are not going to find a better candidate unless you are going to pay them a lot more money than we have in the budget,” he said.

Hardy is well respected, known throughout the State of Maine Fire Service, Bell said. “He could go somewhere else,” Bell stressed. “We don’t want to go through this again.”


“I was totally in favor of what you did with the Police Department, I’m not thinking it is okay this time,” resident Judith Murphy said. “I feel we have the best candidate possible in-house. I do not support this search at all.”

Hardy is great to work with, wouldn’t find a better candidate, John Moore said. “If you are worried about staff morale, especially after the meeting last night this is a way to just nail this thing down. I think you are making a mistake to put it out to bid. I know there has been policy but exceptions can be made.”

“I have to agree with my fellow citizens,” Selectman Scott Landry said.

“I have heard you want to keep employees here, people are finding better paying jobs and leaving,” Kyla Morgan said. If an in-house candidate is rejected will that affect morale, open up more positions in the long run, she asked.

In-house candidates not selected in other searches might have issue with the same policy not being followed, Ryan Morgan said.

Landry tried to motion for an in-house search first. That isn’t possible because the Town Manager controls personnel hiring, Smith said.

Waller said he would take what was said under advisement.

In other business the board approved the $1.15 million sewer department budget for 2022. That number is $28,024 less than originally proposed. A $23,000 discrepancy was found and $5,000 was eliminated from retirement. The new budget is $94,845 more or a 9% increase over the current budget.

The current use rate of $39.90 for a minimum of 500 cubic feet and $7.98 per cubic foot thereafter was also approved.

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