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Selectmen Pick Deputy Chief William Touhey to be New Fire Chief

Deputy Fire Chief William Touhey is slated to take over as Fire Chief in May.



When John Touhey retires as Fire Chief in May, the department will still be headed by "Chief Touhey" – William Touhey, that is. The Board of Selectmen unanimously decided last month to elevate the current Deputy Chief, who is the current Fire Chief's older brother, to the top job.

Town Administrator Richard Villani explained to the board that there were two preferred ways to appoint a new fire chief from within the Fire Department. John Touhey had served as Deputy Chief under Chief John Taddei and a prior board just elevated him to succeed Taddei. But, when Taddei was chosen, a prior board first conducted interviews of candidates from within the department, Villani said.

"It's my personal hope that this can move rapidly," said Chairman William Buckley at his board's February 24 meeting. Saying he preferred promoting the current deputy chief, Buckley added, "We have within our ranks, the next fire chief."

"We have a deputy chief. He's been there [in that position] for 14 years," said Selectman Dino DeBartolomeis. "I think he [William Touhey] follows in Chief Touhey's footsteps." Promoting the current deputy chief means there will not be a long learning curve, and it would open up the deputy chief's position to firemen already in the department, continued DeBartolomeis. "I would be in favor of Deputy Chief Touhey being elevated to Chief Touhey," he said.

"I agree," added Selectman Brian Murray.

Buckley directed Villani to begin salary contract negotiations with William Touhey, as well as to ask him to meet with selectmen in the near future to discuss his vision for the Fire Department. "We're not looking for Bill Touhey to be John Touhey. We're looking for him to be Fire Chief," Buckley said.

DeBartolomeis said the Police Chief and Fire Chief roles are "very, very important positions." He praised John Touhey as "a tremendous, dedicated chief" and "someone who's really an outstanding administrator." John Touhey's retirement is "a sad day [for the community], but really a happy day for John and his family," DeBartolomeis said.

In other business at the board's February 24 meeting, Villani announced that Interim Tax Collector Theresa Dias had instituted a system allowing on-line payment of property taxes. He said that residents can access this option by going to the town's website: http://milford.ma.us/

The state Department of Transportation will be studying the Cape Road (Route 140) intersection with Green Street – where two serious motor vehicle crashed have occurred in recent months – to see what can be done to improve the situation, Villani said.




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