Erving police chief applicant screening committee to form by November

  • Welcome signs along Route 2 in Erving. STAFF FILE PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 10/13/2020 2:29:05 PM

ERVING — The committee to screen candidates for the police chief position is taking membership applications from Erving residents for two more days, with the final deadline at 5 p.m. on Thursday.

Police Chief Chris Blair left the first week of August, for reasons that the Selectboard and Town Administrator Bryan Smith said are private and cannot be discussed publicly, though they added that it was not disciplinary.

A replacement is expected to be in place by late January or early February, following the screening committee’s work of selecting applicants, and the Selectboard’s public interviews of the finalists selected by the committee.

In the interim, Sgt. Robert Holst is the acting police chief.

Technically, Blair is on an indefinite leave of absence, and will be until the position is permanently filled, Smith said. The reasons why he is on leave, rather than simply ending his employment, cannot be discussed publicly yet, but more information may be available after certain negotiations have been settled, Smith said. An employee on leave still receives their normal payment and benefits, Smith said.

The screening committee’s role will be to narrow an initial pool of applicants to a smaller pool of finalists to be interviewed publicly by the Selectboard. The Selectboard has suggested that the finalist pool should have at least three candidates, Smith said.

A recruitment firm may also be involved, although the Selectboard is still considering prices and weighing whether the added expertise would be worthwhile. The potential benefits, Smith said, would be in having an unbiased third party to consult in determining the goals of the screening committee, candidate assessment criteria and an interview process. Smith said a recruitment firm could also give technical support in processes like background checks, and could give recommendations if requested by the Selectboard.

“Ultimately, at the very end of this, this whole process, like any other hiring process, is up to the board,” Smith said.

The screening committee’s work will begin in November, and is expected to continue into January. To apply, send a letter of interest to Bryan Smith, Town Administrator, 12 East Main Street, Erving, MA; or by email to Include the reasons for your interest, and any relevant experience or training.

Reach Max Marcus at or 413-930-4231.

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