The recent nonreappointment of certain members of the Groton Fire Department have raised questions about the reappointment process.
Absent an express provision in either a statute or bylaw that provides for a set term of years for an appointed employee of the town, employees are subject to annual appointment. In cases where an employee has not been annually appointed, they have been serving as a “holdover” appointee for the term of their employment.
The process of annual appointments of public safety officials is something that has been practiced by the town and is undertaken every year with police officers, dispatchers and other positions within the police department. It represents a “best practice” in the overall management of positions with public safety responsibility and, as the fire department is transitioning to a new administration, the annual reappointment process will be followed by the town going forward.
We are aware of the questions and concerns raised by the recent nonreappointment of certain members of the fire department. We, however, are limited in what we can say as we have a duty to respect the privacy of these individuals and the decision, ultimately, is a personnel decision which the town has a policy of not commenting on.
We can say, however, that after the conclusion of the investigation of alleged harassment within the fire department, the Board of Selectmen reviewed the investigator’s findings and asked the town manager to conduct follow-up interviews. After the town manager’s interviews, and after reviewing overall department operations, Chief Bosselait advised certain individuals that they would not be reappointed.
We respect Chief Bosselait’s decisions in this regard and are confident in stating that his decisions were motivated only by doing what he thought was in the best interests of the fire department. Chief Bosselait has represented the town as its fire chief in an exemplary fashion during his tenure and while we look forward to welcoming a new fire chief to lead the department as it moves into a new facility, Chief Bosselait’s leadership will be sorely missed.
Board of Selectmen