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Southampton residents invited to apply to be on fire chief screening committee

SOUTHAMPTON — The Select Board is looking for residents who are interested in helping to choose the town’s next fire chief to join a committee to screen the 28 applicants.

Anyone interested in being on the committee can submit a letter of interest to the Select Board via the town administrator’s office in Town Hall.

Select Board member Edward J. Cauley said the Select Board opted to open the committee to residents as well as town officials at the April 30 meeting. The board did not set a deadline for residents to apply, he said, but letters should be submitted as soon as possible.

He said the board discussed asking the already active town administrator screening committee to also screen fire chief applicants. “Some members said they didn’t have the time to do both,” said Cauley, who was also a member of that committee. That five-member screening committee was made up of town officials hand=picked by the Select Board.

The Select Board has not determined exactly what the screening committee will do, he said, but it could range from eliminating ineligible applicants to interviewing and recommending finalists.

The position, advertised with a salary range of $65,000 to $70,000, has been vacant since June 2012, when the board decided not to renew the contract of former Fire Chief Stephen P. Hyde Sr. without giving a public reason. In letters to the Gazette, the town’s attorney said the town could not release documents regarding Hyde’s dismissal because they included personal information and could affect an ongoing investigation or litigation.

Interim Fire Chief William B. Kaleta has confirmed that he had applied for the position.

Rebecca Everett can be reached at reverett@gazettenet.com.

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