Millinocket police chief takes on duties of fire chief in cost-saving move

Posted Nov. 29, 2013, at 4:24 p.m.

MILLINOCKET, Maine — With saving money in mind, Millinocket officials named their police chief the town’s new fire chief effective Jan. 1, a step the town of Lincoln took in August.

The biggest difference between the two towns’ approach is that new Millinocket Fire and Police Chief Steve Kenyon will not carry the title director of public safety, Millinocket Town Manager Peggy Daigle said.

“For this time, it is the right move,” Millinocket Town Council Chairman Richard Angotti Jr. said Friday. “It is one of those moves we need to consolidate services. This is one way to do that.”

Millinocket saves about $45,000, plus benefits, by electing to leave unfilled the $55,000-salaried position recently vacated by resigning Fire Chief Andrew Turcotte. The position’s benefits are worth about 30 percent of the salary, Daigle said.

As part of becoming fire chief, Kenyon will receive a $10,000 raise. Town regulations prohibit naming a director of public safety, Daigle said. He will start his new position on Jan. 1 to allow him time to acquaint himself with his new department and responsibilities.

Kenyon and Turcotte could not be reached for comment on Friday.

Lincoln’s leaders appointed Dan Summers, a deputy chief in the Skowhegan Police Department for 23 years, their director of public safety in late August. Summers succeeded Police Chief William Lawrence, who became the town’s manager, and Fire Chief Phil Dawson, who resigned.

Lincoln made the change to offset rising costs that forced them to raise the town’s mill rate from $19.86 per $1,000 of valuation to $22.96, officials have said.

Millinocket had a cash shortage so severe that it flirted with bankruptcy for most of the past fiscal year, although the situation is now pretty stable, Daigle has said.

Millinocket Deputy Fire Chief Thomas Malcolm will run the fire department administratively until January and will handle firefighters’ responses to emergencies, as Kenyon is not trained as a fire chief, Daigle said.

Kenyon replaced Police Chief Donald Bolduc, who resigned in September to take a patrolman’s job in Skowhegan.

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