SKOWHEGAN — Fire Chief Richard E. Fowler Jr. was fired Friday by the town manager after just three months on the job.

Town Manager Christine Almand, who said she met with Fowler in her office Friday morning, wouldn’t say what prompted the move.

“At the end of the meeting, I told Mr. Fowler that his employment was terminated,” Almand said. “Things didn’t work out during Mr. Fowler’s probationary period. Therefore, I decided to terminate his employment with the town. Beyond that, this is a personnel matter and I cannot comment further regarding Mr. Fowler.”

Contacted by phone Sunday, Fowler declined to discuss his firing. “Things just didn’t work out between us,” he said.

Fowler, 47, came to Skowhegan from Farmington, New Hampshire, where he had been the fire chief. He took over in May for longtime firefighter and Fire Chief Tom Keene, who was terminated Dec. 30 by then-Town Manager John Doucette Jr.

Keene, 58, had been a firefighter for more than 40 years and chief for 21 years. In the last two years, both his legs were amputated because of complications from diabetes. He went on medical leave Sept. 19 after his most recent surgery.

Fowler’s starting salary in Skowhegan was $56,000, about the same as he was earning in Farmington.

Almand – who took over as town manager the same day that Fowler took over as fire chief in May – said she has appointed Fire Department Capt. Shawn Howard as interim fire chief. The town will advertise the open job of the chief position within the next couple of weeks, she said.

“We have an excellent department of full-time and call firefighters that work well together in order to keep our citizens, businesses and property safe,” Almand said. “They will continue with business as usual. The Board of Selectmen has been informed of the situation and has been supportive of myself and the Fire Department during this time.”

The fire chief interview committee earlier this year included the Board of Selectmen – Betty Austin, Newell Graf, Don Lowe, Steve Spaulding and Paul York. Skowhegan Road Commissioner Greg Dore, who was interim town manager during the hiring process, also served on the search committee, as did Howard and Almand, then the town’s human resources director.

“As with all full-time hires, a thorough background check was performed, which included checking references,” Almand said.

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