WHITMAN — The Board of Selectmen, on Tuesday, May 18, voted to appoint Lt. Timothy Clancy as the town’s new Fire Chief, subject to successful contract negotiations.
The board also voted to open all town buildings on June 1, in keeping with Gov. Charlie Baker’s latest COVID guidelines.
Clancy, whom Town Administrator Lincoln Heineman called the “best candidate for the job” met with the board. The meeting was broadcast and live-streamed by WHCA-TV.
Heineman offered a brief overview of Clancy’s résumé.
Lt. Clancy began his career as a call firefighter in Whitman in 1991 before his promotion to full-time work in the department in 1997. From there, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant in 2008, and currently serves as an instructor at the Massachusetts Fire Academy and has been an instructor for emergency medical teaching services and paramedic training in the past. He is a Certified Fire Officer Levels 1, 2 and 3, and a Certified Fire Instructor Levels 1 and 2.
A graduate of Whitman-Hanson Regional High School, he has a master’s degree in fire science from Anna Maria College. Clancy is also credentialed as a fire chief by the Mass. Fire Service Commission.
Clancy excelled in a November 2020 written exam and full-day assessment center about a month ago, Grenno said.
“He has certainly shown his commitment to furthering others in the field,” Heineman said. “All these pieces together … I would strongly recommend his appointment as the next chief.”
Fire Chief Timothy Grenno, joked being named Tim was a requirement for the job as Grenno’s predecessor was Chief Tim Travers. Clancy officially becomes chief at 5:01 p.m. July 9, with an official badge ceremony to be planned.
When he took over in 2008, Grenno said his main goal was to ensure his command staff received the education and training required to perform their jobs.
“Lt. Clancy has never stopped his education or training,” he said.
Grenno said he and Clancy were the only paramedics in Whitman for several years.
“Tim spent many nights molding and building our EMS with me to what it is today,” Grenno said. “I’m very honored to let you know what you already know that Lt. Clancy has topped that and I am honored to recommend him as chief.”
Selectman Chairman Dr. Carl Kowalski suggested the board vote to appoint Clancy before he spoke so he would be the chief-designate when he spoke to them.
Clancy thanked Grenno and Heineman for their recommendations and said he has been a firefighter since he was a senior in high school.
“I’ve been fortunate to work with great members over the years and they’ve all shared with us knowledge and experience that we’ve been able to take forward,” Clancy said.
He credited Grenno’s planning and preparation the department was prepared for the pandemic response.
“I’m proud to be a member of this department,” he said.
Selectmen lauded the departments’ responses to emergencies at their homes in some cases, and appreciation for getting the town through the pandemic.
Selectman Randy LaMattia said his personal experience with an attack of kidney stones that required ambulance service showed him first-hand Clancy’s skills as he “basically saved my life that night.”
“He not only save my life he tied my shoes when he had to pick me up off the floor,” LaMattina said.
Selectman Dan Salvucci spoke of a humorous fire call when his cat started a small fire by peeing on an outlet, as well as a time when the department came to his aid after a fall.
“The fire service has never come to my house and I certainly hope that that would continue,” Selectman Brian Bezanson joked as he offered his congratulations and full support. He also thanked Grenno for making sure his department helped the town through the pandemic.
Selectman Justin Evans, the Fire Department liaison, said his father, a paramedic in Weymouth has expressed admiration for the Whitman Department.
“I don’t know if I’d say they’re the best on the South Shore, because I’d get in trouble at home for that one,” he said.
Grenno said the transition will have Clancy moving to the day shift on June 1 until he goes to the National Fire Academy’s executive officer program in Maryland. He is a graduate of the Massachusetts Fire Academy/Edward J. Collins Center for Public Management Chief Fire Officer Program.
“I think it will be just a flip of the switch for you guys,” Grenno told Selctmen.
Selectmen voted to reopen all town buildings on June 1, in keeping with Gov. Charlie Baker’s latest COVID guidelines, and voted to change the Town Meeting to Town Hall at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, June 2.
The Monday, June 8 Selectmen’s meeting will mark a return to in-person meetings.
Gov. Baker has put a May 29 ending date for all mask requirements and indoor capacity limitations related to COVID-19. The state of emergency ends on June 15 and temporary outdoor dining licenses expire on that date.
Selectmen also discussed budget recommendations with Finance Committee Chairman Richard Anderson, who also expressed his concern over the proper process for presenting the municipal budget at Town Meeting.
Kowalski said both the Selectmen and FinCom recommendations would be presented to Town Meeting.
“Generally speaking, the Finance Committee concurs with the articles contained within the warrant,” he said adding the FinCom has made final recommendations on all budget line items.
“A discussion about whose budget it is, is a discussion that doesn’t go anywhere,” Kowalski said. Anderson agreed on that point.
“I really am concerned that we’re headed in a direction that takes away from the independent review of the Finance Committee,” he said, suggesting it was a debate that would likely continue.
There is only $9,000 difference — revolving around non-mandated busing — between the Selectmen’s and FinCom’s budgets.
Anderson had expressed concern that the School Department would have “home field” advantage in the Town Meeting being held on high school property. Kowalski also said that, with COVID restrictions being eased, the Town Meeting will likely be moved to Town Hall. That was, indeed, decided later in the meeting [see above].
The Finance Committee budget advocates level-funding the busing line item.
Evans asked if that was intended to seek a change from the School Committee or a statement to shift the cost elsewhere.
He said the issue was more that Selectmen are recognized as the policy makers and sought to make is clear that the recommendation was simply on the financial implications of that budget line and the fact that it is no longer sustainable.