The town of Buxton could name its new fire chief as early as this week.

Buxton selectmen picked a candidate from Connecticut from a field of six candidates that interviewed for the job. Dan Collomy, chairman of the board of selectman, said the candidate, whose name has not yet been released, and his wife were to arrive in Buxton Aug. 23 for a two-day visit. Collomy said the earliest selectmen expected a decision if the candidate accepted the town’s offer to become chief would be Aug. 24. “It’s all up in the air,” Collomy said.

Buxton began looking for a new fire chief after Jeff Grinnell resigned July 1. Grinnell, whose resignation stunned the community, had been chief for seven years. Grinnell has stayed on as a call firefighter and paramedic.

Gene Harmon, deputy fire chief at the Bar Mills Station on Portland Road, has been serving as interim chief.

Collomy said the candidate, who has been tabbed to replace Grinnell, has three children. Before accepting the offer, Collomy said the man and his wife wanted to get a tour of the town and learn more about Buxton, and the area’s schools, hospitals and shopping areas.

The couple also wanted to meet with selectmen to discuss the job’s benefit package. Buxton advertised the job as starting at a salary of $848 a week in addition to a “generous” benefit package.

During a tour of the town, the couple was also going to look for potential places to live in Buxton. They were to eat lunch with selectmen Aug. 23.

The leading candidate for the job is experienced but also holds another job in addition to his present firefighting duties, according to Collomy. “He’s a fire chief,” Collomy said.

Jean Harmon, also a selectman, said the board hopes to name the man as chief by the end of this week. “They want to make sure it’s the right move for them,” Harmon said regarding the candidate and his wife.

Buxton received 19 applications for the chief’s position from several states including Alaska, Utah, New Mexico, South Carolina, Maryland, Florida, New Hampshire and Connecticut local candidates. Selectmen said members of the Personnel Review Committee, Police Chief Jody Thomas, Gene Harmon and other pubic safety people along with the five selectmen were involved in the process that narrowed the field of applicants to six.

There were some exceptionally well qualified candidates,” Selectman Bob Libby said last week.

Grinnell said he resigned because he felt tied to the job and the administrative duties that go along with being chief pulled him away from what he enjoys doing the most. He said his resignation had nothing to do with any hard feelings against the town. “The town has been great,” he said. “I wasn’t happy with what I was doing.”

Grinnell enjoys helping people as a firefighter and paramedic but felt pulled away by demands of the paperwork. “I like being on the street,” he said. “I wanted to go back to what I enjoy the most.”

Grinnell hopes to find a job nearby and doesn’t want to move away. “We like Buxton,” Grinnell said.

He has been applying for a fulltime firefighter/paramedic position with other communities, although he didn’t name any. Scarborough Fire Chief Mike Thurlow said last week his department was accepting applications for two openings.

Grinnell wants to go back to school. He is the father of four kids with the youngest being 5 years old and plans to spend more time with his family. He recently spent a day at the lake with his family. “I told my wife I haven’t done this for years,” he said.


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