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Hopkinton selectmen decide to begin search for fire chief

HOPKINTON — After receiving feedback from members of the fire department, the board of selectmen has decided to move forward in its search for a new chief and is posting the position this week, said Chairman Jim O&#';Brien.

In September, the town lost its first full-time fire chief when Rick Schaefer suffered fatal cardiac arrest while on the job. Schaefer had held the position since 1999 and had been a member of the department for 32 years.

Shortly after Schaefer&#';s death, the board promoted Deputy Chief Jeff Yale, a 20-year veteran of the department, to the position of interim chief.

Last month, the board discussed waiting until December to post the position for a new chief, but after having conversations with some of the members of the department, the board decided Monday night to start the process rolling.

&#';The feedback from some people in the department was that we should move forward,&#'; said O&#';Brien. &#';They want some finality to all of this.&#';

O&#';Brien also said the board is concerned that they are over-burdening Yale, who only works for the department part time and has another full-time job.

&#';It&#';s a lot of responsibility to put on a person who&#';s only working part-time,&#'; O&#';Brien said.

The board has modified the job description of fire chief with some minor changes, said O&#';Brien, and will be advertising the position starting this week. Then work will begin on assembling a committee to oversee the hiring process.

&#';A search committee will be formed including a former fire chief from town and a fire chief from a local community who will help us through this process,&#'; said O&#';Brien.

The board will also be asking members from the fire department and the community at large to join the search committee as well.

O&#';Brien said the position will continue to be advertised through November, and the committee will be formed before the closure of the posting.

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Nancy Bean Foster may be reached at


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