Hampstead Selectmen Appoint Deputy Fire Chief

HAMPSTEAD – The Board of Selectmen expressed surprise that only one application was received for the position of Deputy Fire Chief, before appointing Hampstead Fire Captain Will Warnock to the post.
Jim Gilmartin, who had served as long-time deputy fire chief, retired at the end of June.

Fire Chief Michael Carrier said he had received the single application to replace Gilmartin and he and Selectman Rick Hartung reviewed the application and interviewed Warnock. He asked the selectmen to promote Warnock to the post at Monday night’s selectmen’s meeting.

Warnock served the Salem Fire Department for a number of years before retiring and joining the Hampstead Department as captain. He is also the Fire Inspector. Carrier said Warnock would combine his position as Inspector with that of Deputy Chief, receiving a stipend for both, just as he now receives a stipend for being a captain and being the inspector.

“I don’t intend to fill the vacant captain slot at this point,” Carrier said. “I would like to wait until after the budget season and make a decision then as to whether the position needs to be filled or eliminated.”

Warnock’s appointment is for a one-year probationary period.
In other business at the July 22 meeting:
• The board heard from Faith Drive resident Jennifer Coppola about her concerns regarding what she believes is inadequate and lax Hampstead Hospital security, which she said results in taxpayer costs and safety issues for residents when juveniles run away from the facility and Hampstead Police have to find and return them (see related story page 1).

She said she heard from Hampstead police officers that they were unhappy with the hospital because they had to spend hours hunting for the juveniles when that should be the hospital’s responsibility. She said her concern is that not only is it a cost for taxpayers that the hospital should be responsible for covering but it is a dangerous situation. She said she had met with the Police Chief but he didn’t want her to exaggerate the situation.

Carrier said he has had dealings with Hampstead Hospital and had found it responsive, but he agreed it is a situation that should be addressed. He said he would meet with Police Chief Joe Beaudoin and try and arrange a meeting with Hampstead Hospital officials to work on improving procedures.

• Work on the Town Office Building cupola was discussed, and Selectwoman Priscilla Lindquist said she thinks the contract proposed by Joe McSwain of Mid-Maine Restoration should be awarded, or the board should agree to have the work done. She said a leak is causing damage and the previous efforts to correct the situation have failed.

Chairman Sean Murphy expressed doubts about awarding the contract to MMR because the board didn’t go out to bid and the proposed cost is $15,430. Lindquist said the job had been bid and work done on several previous occasions, with no success. She said MMR is in the restoration business and has worked in town on several similar issues, and its success rate is known.

Hartung agreed the job should be awarded to MMR because of past experience with the company but suggested doing the first three steps outlined in the MMR proposal this year and the fourth and final step in 2014.
After a lengthy debate, the selectmen took a vote, with Lindquist and Hartung voting to award the contract to MMR, with the stipulation that the first three steps amounting to $11,600 be done this year and the final step in 2014, if the company is willing to work with the town in that fashion. Murphy voted against awarding the contract.

• The board delayed a decision on painting the front of Town Hall until the next meeting. The board asked Selectmen’s Administrative Assistant Sally Theriault to speak with Building and Grounds Department Head Steve Harms to see if his department could do the work. If not, the board will reconsider a proposed contract with Jeff Ayres to do the job.

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