“As far as I know, (the issue) is all done with,” says Jeff Wakeman,

chairman of the Board of Selectmen.

Bill St. Michel, longtime Durham fire chief, will stay on the job for “the foreseeable future,” he told the Tri-Town Weekly in an email last Wednesday.

St. Michel, who had threaten to resign due to a salary dispute, told the Board of Selectmen on Sept. 22 that he wants to stay on the job.

“I had come to the conclusion that I was allowing my anger to drive me from two of the things I value in life, the town of Durham and Durham Fire & Rescue,” St. Michel said.

St. Michel, a 42-year veteran of the fire department, told town officials in March that he would resign his position unless he received a 5 percent increase on his $55,224 salary. But at the annual town meeting on April 4, residents voted for a $292,860 operating budget for Durham Fire & Rescue, which gave the chief a 2 percent raise.

St. Michel responded by saying that he still intended to leave unless he got the 5 percent pay hike.

“Once affairs are in order, I’m going to leave,” St. Michel said at the April 21 meeting of the Board of Selectmen. “I just want to make sure we make it through the transition.”

But after taking some time off to deal with an illness in his family, St. Michel returned, and his position remained in apparent limbo until his announcement last week.

Jeff Wakeman, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, said Wednesday that St. Michel has retained his title through the entire episode.

“He’s been fire chief the whole time,” Wakeman said. “There was uncertainty, but he never stopped that. As far as I know, (the issue) is all done with.”

Durham Fire Chief Bill St. Michel has decided to remain on the job.File photo


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