Erving FD members resign following chief replacement

CORRECTION:While five members did resign, former chief Almon “Bud” Meattey III did not technically resign, as he was no longer a member of the department following the expiration of his temporary appointment, a two-month appointment made this spring during the annual re-appointment of fire department members.

CLARIFICATION: The article referred to an Erving neighborhood as the Millers Falls section of town. This area is presently better known as Ervingside, a name deriving from its being the Erving side of what was at one point considered Millers Falls, now a name referring exclusively to the Montague village across the Millers River.

ERVING — The Fire Department is a bit thinner on the ground than it used to be. Former Chief Almon “Bud” Meattey Jr. and five other members have resigned after he was replaced as head of the department.

Meattey, his brother and Deputy chief Herman “Butch” Meattey, Lt. Mark Kosloski, firefighters Kelly Potts, Raymond Mailloux and William Pease have resigned.

The resignations leave 17 members on the call force, according to Assistant Town Clerk Betsy Sicard.

Split between two fire stations, one by the Town Hall on East Main Street and the other on Moore Street in the Millers Falls section of town, the department responds to fires, car accidents and medical emergencies in the town’s 14.39 square miles and to mutual aid calls from neighboring towns.

The resignations follow a search for a new chief, an effort with mixed backing from the Board of Selectmen, and impassioned displays for and against Almon Meattey Jr. at board meetings.

Following two months of stalemate, the Board of Selectmen appointed Phillip Wonkka as chief Sept. 3. Wonkka was one of two finalists presented by a search committee, becoming the sole finalist when Mitchell LaClaire Sr., a former Erving fire chief, withdrew his name from consideration.

The selectmen initiated a mediation process for the divided department last month, hiring a mediator who has begun meeting with members and town officials.

Sicard said the mediation process is ongoing.

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

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