After controversial delay, veteran South Thomaston fire chief reappointed

Posted May 01, 2013, at 11:56 a.m.

SOUTH THOMASTON, Maine — The town’s veteran fire chief has been reappointed after selectmen initially decided last month to hold up the confirmation and seek interviews with other interested candidates.

“I am excited to be reappointed and glad to see the selectboard took the time to sit down and talk with members of the fire department and evaluate the department,” Chief Bryan Calderwood said Wednesday morning.

Selectmen voted unanimously Tuesday night to reappoint Calderwood. He has been chief for seven years and been with the department 21 years.

Appointments are for one year.

The chief said last month he was blindsided when selectmen postponed action on his position and announced they would solicit and interview candidates. Calderwood was eligible to apply for the position.

Selectwoman Dorothy Meriwether said last month that the appointment of officials is an important duty for the board and there should be more thought put into it. She said in a previous term on the board, she felt one of her mistakes was voting for all the reappointments without knowing what type of job they were doing.

At the board’s April 10 meeting, the members voted to postpone until April 30 a vote on the reappointments of the fire chief, code enforcement officer, shellfish warden, cemetery overseer, emergency management agency director, E-911 coordinator, planning board members and plumbing inspector.

All those positions other than cemetery overseer, shellfish warden and two alternates to the planning board were appointed Tuesday night, Meriwether said Wednesday morning.

Meriwether said three people other than Calderwood applied for the fire chief’s post.

Selectman Robert Branco said that the applications were sought because the two new members on the board requested it. He said the board wants to improve communications with the departments and he believes that will be done.

He said action on the cemetery overseer’s position was delayed to develop a job description. The board also wanted more time before picking a shellfish warden so members could discuss how the appointment should be made since the town is part of a district with other towns.

South Thomaston does not have a town manager and the board makes those personnel decisions. Reappointments are generally a routine matter with little discussion.

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