Manchester seeking permanent fire chief 

File photo/Retired Georgetown Fire Chief Al Beardsley has again been serving as Manchester's interim fire chief. The town is advertising to fill the position.

MANCHESTER — Two years after former fire Chief George Kramlinger resigned, the town has sent out an open call to find the next leader of the Manchester Fire Department. 

The town "is seeking a progressive, experienced fire/EMS service professional with a proven record of leadership to serve as its next fire chief," according to the job posting published in the Gloucester Daily Times earlier this week. "Bachelor's degree in fire science or related field and 10 years of relevant experience, with at least 5 in supervisory or command positions preferred. Graduates of the MA Chief of Fire Officer Management Program or National Academy Executive Fire Officer Program are strongly encouraged to apply."

It lists the proposed salary range as between $115,000 to $125,000, depending on qualifications. For fiscal year 2019, the town budget reserved $120,822 for the fire chief's salary. The previous year, Kramlinger's last full fiscal year served on the department, the chief earned $117,875.

Those interested in the position are asked to send a cover letter and resume to Town Administrator Greg Federspiel at federspielg@manchester.ma.us. The town will begin reviewing resumes on Monday, Dec. 9. Federspiel hopes to have someone hired by early spring.

"We welcome an in-house candidate if that's something they'd like to pursue," he added. 

The Manchester Fire Department oversees both fire and EMS services in town. It is staffed by 14 career firefighters and five to six on-call volunteers.

Since 2018, the department has been led by interim fire Chief Al Beardsley. This is the second time Beardsley has served as Manchester chief in the interim — the first was in 2016 before Kramlinger was hired. 

Over the years, the department has had trouble retaining on-call staff. In past years, upwards of 20 volunteers were on standby. 

"On most days its fine," Federspiel explained. "During those rare moments when there's a critical fire or multiple emergency calls at once, we have to rely on mutual aid, which is fine, but it does take longer."

Although the town has been involved in ongoing negotiations with Essex to regionalize some municipal departments and services, combining the two fire departments was a nonstarter.  

"There was a brief discussion (on it)," recalled Federspiel, "but fiscally it didn't make sense for Essex. They have all on-call staff. Sharing the costs for a regional fire department would drastically inflate their budget."

Those looking to serve on-call must live in or within a short distance of Manchester and complete the town's volunteer firefighter program.

"We always welcome people stepping forward," said Federspiel.

Michael Cronin may be contacted at 978-675-2708, or mcronin@gloucestertimes.com

 

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