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Belchertown Fire Capt. John Workman among finalists for Southampton Fire Chief job

The three selected from the pool of 28 candidates are John C. Workman, a captain in the Belchertown Fire Department; Daniel J. Gaumont, a retired fire chief from Ringgold, Texas; and Robert W. Church, a retired deputy chief from Portsmouth, R.I.

The fire chief screening committee recommended the three men to the Select Board at a meeting Tuesday. Select Board member Edward J. Cauley said the board plans to interview all three at a public meeting on Aug. 29.

James Palermo, a member of the screening committee, said choosing only three finalists was difficult. Interim Fire Chief Wiliam B. Kaleta withdrew his name from consideration because he has decided to retire instead.

“In the first wave of 27 applicants we looked at, it was fairly easy to eliminate ones without a lot of experience,” he said. Then they interviewed 11 candidates — some, like Gaumont, by conference call — in early July before selecting the finalists. “It was a very difficult decision,” he said, because most were very qualified.

The job has been vacant since the board ousted former fire chief Stephen P. Hyde Sr. in June 2012, saying only that they wanted to go in a different direction with the department’s leadership.

Cauley said Thursday he thinks the committee did a good job and he is sure they’ve selected fine candidates.

“Now, we need to get moving,” he said, since Kaleta plans to retire at the end of the month.

After the interviews, he said, the board will decide who to offer the job to and negotiate a salary. The job was advertised with a salary range of $65,000 to $70,000.

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

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