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Selectmen Discuss Hiring Process for New Fire Chief

During an October 8 meeting, the Mendon Board of Selectmen began the process to hire a new Fire Chief by employing Municipal Resources Inc., a professional recruitment company. The Selectmen also agreed to fund up to $30,000 toward the hiring process, a portion of which will need to be approved during the November Special Town Meeting.

Brian Duggan, Director of MRI's Fire and EMS Department, discussed his recommendations with the Board. Duggan has 35 years of past fire service and also served as Chief for two departments before working for MRI.

Before meeting with the Board, Duggan said he had spoken with Town Administrator Kim Newman and Acting Public Safety Director Dave Kurczy. "Clearly Mendon is facing a sort of transition as you consider adopting a different leadership style," said Duggan. Public Safety Director Ernest Horn is set to resign November 1. Horn served as both Fire and Police Chief for Mendon. Since then, the Selectmen agreed to move forward with separate chiefs for each department.

Duggan said he had three different steps toward hiring a new fire chief. To begin with, he would first recommend creating a management letter which would set the stage for future candidates and identify what the key issues in the department are moving forward. "Not looking at the past," he said.

The second part of the process would be recruitment, beginning with the development of a profile of the position. This would consist of determining the qualifications, an internet background search, seeing how initial candidates communicate, and then using that information to recruit down to a core group of candidates.

And the third recommendation would be to provide technical assistance to the Acting Public Safety Director during the transition of the new chief.

When asked what a typical timeline might be to hire the position, "If we start from ground zero, the average time is about six months," said Duggan, however adding that eight months was more realistic.

The Selectmen then discussed the recommendations presented. "Let's face it, the price of mistakes is high; exceedingly high," said Selectman Chair Rich Schofield. "I'd like to see us do all three." Selectman Mark Reil agreed. "It's a very important position in the town and with this restructuring we need to make sure this is done correctly. I'd like to move forward with it."

The Board approved spending $10,000 on the management letter, $12,000 on the recruitment, and up to $9,000 or $125 per hour for the technical assistance.


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