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Montague board to interview chief candidates

MONTAGUE — The assessment results are in and a decision is pending on a new police chief.

Town Administrator Frank Abbondanzio said the town received overall scores and a ranking for the two candidates, current Interim Chief of Police Charles “Chip” Dodge III and Acting Sgt. Christopher Lapointe, with Dodge ranked first.

Abbondanzio told the members of the Board of Selectmen they could select a chief based on those scores or interview the candidates as well.

“If we’re hiring a new police chief I’d just a soon have an interview,” said Selectman Mark Fairbrother.

“This would certainly be taken into heavy consideration but I think we owe it to ourselves and the town to have an interview,” Fairbrother said.

Raymond J. Zukowski Jr. retirement from the chief’s position last November, precipitated a string of interim promotions with accompanying interviews.

Staff Sgt. Christopher Williams was first appointed interim chief but resigned the position in July to be replaced by Dodge, while an acting sergeant’s resignation to return to detective rank resulted in Lapointe’s promotion.

Abbondanzio said the assessment Oct. 5 featured six roll-playing exercises, a scenario and two written exercises, administered by three current and former police chiefs and overseen by a Civil Service representative.

The assessment is the second portion of the Civil Service testing process, with the first portion abandoned.

In July the Board of Selectmen learned the three candidates had failed the first step in the two-part Civil Service process, with scores on the written portion insufficient to move on to the so-called “assessment center.”

Expressing confidence in the internal candidates, the board chose to continue with a truncated assessment process rather than waiting for the next round of Civil Service testing to begin in the spring.

The chief’s position remains within the Civil Service system, with the shortened process approved by Civil Service but administered by private contractor BadgeQuest at town expense.

The selectmen instructed Abbondanzio to schedule an interview.

After the meeting, Fairbrother and Boutwell said the interview will presumably or hopefully occur this month, given the proximity of the holiday season.

You can reach Chris Curtis at:
ccurtis@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

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