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Pepperell panel: Nor’easter cleanup hampered by low staff levels

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PEPPERELL — Representatives from the Emergency Planning Committee discussed post-October nor’easter cleanup last night.

After thanking the volunteers, the committee discussed problems with the cleanup.

Highway Department Superintendent Peter Shattuck said he needed to boost staff levels at the police and highway departments.

“Trying to take care of the town with seven guys is difficult,” Shattuck said. “We’ve been out there since the sun comes out and still have a lot left to do.”

Selectmen Chairman Michael Green agreed with Shattuck. Selectman Joseph Sergi said staff cuts came at a time when the town was dealing with deep fiscal challenges.

“The storms are not 100-year storms; they are happening every couple of years,” he said.

Shattuck agreed and said it would be in his best interest to begin “leap-frogging” staff numbers back to where they were.

The high point of the storm response was the reverse-911 system used to warn residents, said Communications Director Frank Quattrochi.

In other business, three Pepperell police officers were promoted and a fourth was appointed by the board.

Police Chief David Scott recommended the promotion of Sgt. Todd Blain to lieutenant and Officer Nick Parker and Detective Bill Greathead to sergeant. Ryan Fogarty was appointed to the force as a police officer.

All appointments are effective Jan. 1.

Fogarty, a Pepperell native, said he was happy to be able to give back to his community.

“That’s exactly it,” Selectmen Joseph Sergi said. “You defend our community, and this department does an exceptional job.”

Sergi went on to call it a “great moment” for Pepperell.

After a challenging promotional process, said Scott, he recommended the three officers for promotion.

Blain has served as a sergeant since 2006 and, according to Scott, was instrumental in the department’s deployment of tasers, firearms and ATV patrols.

After serving for four years as a Marine, Parker was hired as a full-time officer in 1998. He has served as the department’s DARE officer.

He also recently finished his associate’s degree in criminal justice and helped the auxiliary department as its liaison and law instructor.

Greathead has served Pepperell since the 1980s and became a detective in 1999.

Scott described him as well known in the community and that his years of experience and work ethic are “tremendous assets to the department.”

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