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New Tilton, Northfield fire chief to meet public

TILTON — Fire commissioners are inviting residents of Tilton and Northfield to meet their new fire chief Saturday.

Michael W. Sitar Jr., 55, a 32-year member of the Tewksbury, Mass., Fire Department, where he presently holds the rank of captain, will be officially sworn in at 12:15 p.m. as part of a two-hour open house at the fire station.

Sitar replaces Bradley Ober, who departed the two-town department in September after a long dispute over his residency requirement. Ober is now deputy fire chief in Gilford.

Sitar, whose salary will be in the mid to low $70,000-per-year range, was chosen from 21 applicants, according to Fire Commissioner Pat Clark. Sitar officially takes over Monday, and he has been given time to find a home in one of the two towns, Clark said.
He was chosen after a thorough interview process by a search committee made up of Jim Clements, CEO at the Spaulding Youth Center; Scott Davis, a commissioner with the Tilton-Northfield Water Co.; Franklin Fire Chief and Tilton resident Kevin LaChapelle; Northfield Selectman Steven Bluhm; Tilton Selectmen Joe Jesseman; and Joyce Fulweiler, Tilton’s town administrator and a Northfield resident.
“The search committee did a very thorough job and put Chief Sitar through a tough background check,” Clark said. “He comes very well recommended, and he comes from a small, working-class town, not too different from what we have here.”
Sitar said he is looking forward to moving to the Lakes Region. He currently owns a summer home in Laconia on Paugus Bay, he said.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity, I’m honored to have been chosen,” he said Thursday.
Also at the fire department’s Center Street Station will be a display of a new piece of fire-fighting equipment, a Quint 75-foot ladder truck that was purchased as a result of town meeting last year.

“We hope people come to see it, it’s a very important piece of equipment for our towns and for mutual aid,” Clark said.

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