SHIRLEY — Police Chief Thomas Goulden will not be required to wear two hats, as his predecessor did for several years.
Now, thanks to the pending hire of an added patrol officer, the chief’s job description can return to normal, a change selectmen wanted to implement for some time but could not due to budget constraints.
With the position approved at the recent Special Town Meeting and enough money in town coffers now to cover the new officer’s salary and benefits, the hiring process can get under way.
Goulden met with selectmen Nov. 17 to map out a strategy.
“Typically, we have a committee…” consisting of the police chief and the department’s senior officer, a selectman and community members and including the fire chief or ambulance director, Chairman David Swain said. The group would screen applications and make recommendations, “in concert” with the chief and senior officer, Swain said.
The process Goulden sketched, which he had previously discussed with Town Administrator Patrice Garvin, came from a somewhat different slant but with the same basics.
“In my experience … we try to do internal vetting in the department” first, he said. In-house screening would rule out some candidates “immediately” based on probing personal questions and background checks before the process goes public, Goulden said.
Then “at the appropriate time,” a departmental recommendation would be made to the selectmen, which could proceed with its “civilian” screening process, he said, adding that he would share the preemptive questions with the board on request.
“How many candidates would you send over?” Selectman Robert Prescott asked.
Three, Goulden answered, based on the department’s current makeup.
After discussion, board members approved the two-tiered process Goulden proposed.
In other business, selectmen approved a request from the Community Assistance Collaborative, represented by members Ann Towne and Frank Esielionis, to forward “up to $5,000” from annual accrued interest in the Winslow Trust Fund. The stated mission of CAC, which operates under the umbrella of the nonprofit Shirley Charitable Foundation, is to assist families in need of fuel or other emergency help.
Towne said she hoped funds would be released in time for the winter season, citing a funding gap last year when CAC tapped out its existing bankroll and had to turn to other resources to help identified Shirley individuals and families in need.
Citing eligibility criteria, Towne said CAC does not screen applicants but accepts confidential referrals from others who do, including the Veterans Services Officer, Loaves & Fishes, the Shirley Friendship Fund and the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance, although the latter has yet to send along any referrals.
The board also authorized the town administrator to advertise two DPW laborer positions, one to fill an existing vacancy and the other to close a pending gap due to a crew member’s recently announced retirement at the end of this year.