MANCHESTER — The town is almost ready to put a new chief in the driver’s seat at the Fire Department.
Selectmen voted Tuesday to begin contract negotiations with candidate Glen A. Rogers, now a deputy fire chief in Falmouth.
“I haven’t heard from him what his needs are,” Town Administrator Wayne Melville said of negotations Thursday. “But I know enough to know that this is not automatic.”
Melville said he will meet with Rogers this week or at the beginning of next week to discuss the contract.
“I know what he earns. I know what we’re going to offer. We need to see if it’s going to be negotiable for him,” Melville said.
A deputy fire chief in Falmouth since 1999, Rogers said though he loves the job there, he is ready for new experiences, hopefully in Manchester.
“I’m elated. I’m excited about it. I think we’re both on the same page,” Rogers said of contract negotiations with the town. “I think we’re going to be able to work out an agreement.”
Rogers said he is familiar with Cape Ann from hiking and biking in the area. And, Rogers was a finalist in Gloucester’s fire chief search.
“I have nothing but good things to say about my experience with Gloucester,” Rogers said. “When they selected Chief Smith, and I saw the availability in Manchester ... I was like why not? This is another great opportunity.”
Rogers is entering his fourth year of participation in the executive Massachusetts Fire Training Council and is also a certified paramedic.
“I really enjoy that part of the field, in really connecting with folks during their time of need,” Rogers said. “It’s the best job on Earth really, being in the fire service.”
This summer’s posting for the fire chief, which did not specify a salary range, said the town would negotiate compensation “depending upon qualifications and experience,” according to Melville. Manchester’s former chief, Andrew Paskalis, earned a base salary of $105,000 before he retired in June, Melville said.
Paskalis also earned an additional $7,500 for his role as emergency management director, boosting his salary to $112,500, according to Melville. But, Melville said the emergency management director role is filled now, and a new chief might not inherit that position.
Rogers won the selectmen’s majority vote for the chief job over Manchester fire Capt. Tod E. Biggar after the third finalist, Arlington Deputy Chief James Bailey, dropped out of the race before Monday’s interviews. Melville and others said both men were great candidates, but Melville said Rogers had the advantage of administrative experience under his belt.
“Both men are solid operationally,” Melville said Wednesday. “Rogers just has had that opportunity to do the work that Tod hasn’t.”
The town had hoped to secure a new chief by Oct. 1 to take on the duties now covered by interim Chief Bob Loomer.
Melville said contract negotiations should be sewn up next week.
“We should know early next week whether we have a new chief or not,” Melville said.
Marjorie Nesin can be reached at 978-283-7000 x3451, or firstname.lastname@example.org.