A vote Tuesday by the Standish Town Council against re-appointing the town’s director of public safety stunned both the director and councilors who voted in favor of his re-appointment.

Martin Jordan, who has been the Standish public safety director since January 2005, received a call from Standish Town Manager Gordon Billington after the meeting Tuesday night, informing him of the outcome of the vote.

“I don’t know why,” Jordan said in a interview Wednesday, adding that the council never spoke with him about his performance.

Councilors voted, 4-3, not to re-appoint Jordan for another year. His current appointment lasts through the end of June.

“It came as a total surprise to me,” said town councilor Margaret Spencer Wednesday, who voted to re-appoint Jordan. Spencer declined further comment.

Town councilor Carolyn Beigel, who also voted to re-appoint Jordan, said she was unaware of anything that would cause councilors to vote against the re-appointment. She said the council had never discussed Jordan’s performance.

“The position I think is very good, and I have no problems with the present director of public safety,” said town councilor Terence Christy, who voted to retain Jordan.

Councilors Karen Tompson, Phil Pomerleau, Wayne Newbegin and Chairman Louis Stack voted against Jordan’s re-appointment.

In interviews Wednesday, Newbegin and Stack declined to explain why they had voted against Jordan’s re-appointment, which was on the meeting agenda with eight other appointments. Newbegin said there was little discussion before the vote.

Billington also declined to comment.

The Town Council had entered into a session closed to the public at the beginning of the meeting to discuss a personnel matter. However, Stack said that was a previously scheduled review of Billington’s performance.

Near the end of the meeting, the council addressed the nine appointments. The order was written so that councilors would vote to appoint all positions at the same time. A motion was made by Pomerleau to vote for the positions individually, said Beigel Wednesday. All other appointments passed unanimously.

Jordan served as the fire chief in Portland from 1991 to 2001. As the director of public safety in Standish, he acts as the chief of fire and emergency medical services. He also supervises the animal control division, fire inspections, communications center, harbormaster, and health officer.

The Standish Fire and EMS Department has more than 85 active members and is composed of three stations. They protect 68 square miles and responded to 1,621 calls in 2007. The town first appointed a full-time director of public safety in 2001. Jordan was the third to fill the position.

“The people here are awesome. They’re professional,” Jordan said of his colleagues in the department, adding that he does not foresee any effect on services.

Volunteer firefighter Walter Chapin was also surprised by the news. “He’s been very supportive of the department’s efforts and needs,” Chapin said. “He’ll be missed by us.”

Jordan said he doesn’t know what he’ll do next, though he wrote in an e-mail to members of the department that he does plan to remain a member of the Standish Fire and EMS Department in some capacity.

“I’m still in disbelief,” Jordan said.


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