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TOWNSEND — A new interim police chief will be on duty starting Friday.

Selectmen voted unanimously Wednesday night to name retired Gardner Deputy Chief Rock A. Barrieau to the post at the recommendation of the interim Town Administrator Jim Krieidler.

Before the vote, Kreidler read his report detailing the steps he followed when choosing Barrieau. As directed by the board, he contacted Badgequest, the company performing the search for a permanent chief and others for recommendations. Peter Roddy, executive director of the Municipal Police Institute, a retired chief in Leominster and a friend of Kreidler, provided a list of potential candidates.

“I have identified an exceptional candidate,” Kreidler read, then named Barrieau.

“I had the professional pleasure of working with Rock from 1990 through mid-1995, and I can think of no one in the policing community that I would hold in higher esteem,” Kreidler read.

Barrieau’s contract, signed Dec. 30, is mostly the same as the contract signed by Robert DeMoura when he became interim police chief in September, Kreidler read. DeMoura, a former Fitchburg chief and Lowell police captain, resigned effective Dec. 31.

Both contracts specify $1,800 for a 30-hour work week and use of a police vehicle, with no insurance or retirement benefits.

The one difference with DeMoura’s contract — employment being on a month-to-month basis, rather than a longer term — was made with Barrieau’s agreement, Kreidler said.

“This provides appropriate flexibility for both parties as we proceed toward the hiring of a permanent chief,” Kreidler read.

Because Barrieau agreed with the terms, there was no need to hold an executive session, Selectmen Chairwoman Carolyn Smart said.

There was no discussion between the board and Barrieau before the vote was taken and the contract signed.

Before talking about his recommendation for interim chief, Kreidler apologized to Selectman Gordy Clark for his opinion that Clark could not participate in the hiring of a chief because Clark’s wife works for the Police Department.

“Selectman Clark had already sought and received an opinion of counsel on the matter that makes it clear that he is most certainly entitled to participate in this matter,” Kreidler read from his report. “So please, Selectman Clark, accept my public apology.”

“I would gladly accept,” Clark said. “Thank you.”

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