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Select Board set to interview finalists for fire chief position

by | Jan 1, 2024 | Featured: News, News, Police & Fire

The Select Board is expected to choose the town’s new fire chief after interviewing the two finalists at its meeting Tuesday night.

Both candidates, interim Chief Gary T. Daugherty Jr. and John W. Ignatowicz, possess more than 25 years of firefighting experience and advanced degrees, according to their resumes. After devoting their careers to their respective departments, they assumed temporary leadership roles there during the past two years. Each expressed a passion for the job, examples of teamwork and the need for capital investment in modern equipment to meet current challenges.

Daughterty in his cover letter stated that he has “proudly served as a loyal and wavering member” of HFD for the past 19 years. He stressed his “visionary approach” to pursuing grants, collaboration within his and other town departments and alignment with the town’s strategic plan goals. Partnerships with the Board of Health on a Narcan administration program and drug overdose awareness campaign and with Youth & Family Services to develop a peer mental health team were ways Daughtery integrated the concept of safety with public health needs in 2023.

One major accomplishment was Daughterty’s development of a liquefied natural gas response manual after a June public forum highlighted resident concerns about the Eversource LNG facility on Wilson Street. Eversource representatives at that meeting said their relationship with HFD has improved, and Daugherty has created an ongoing training program with the company.

Ignatowicz has spent his career serving in the fire department of Pelham, New Hampshire, which he said operates similarly to the HFD. Over the past 14 months, he has served as the PFD’s acting deputy fire chief and acting fire chief.

In his cover letter, Ignatowicz described himself as “part of the solution” to building a new fire station, increasing staffing and modernizing equipment over two decades. Over the past 18 years, he described how the department was able to maintain a budget surplus while increasing the force by 150%.

His resume stressed interdepartmental coordination, communication and leadership skills.

Stated Ignatowicz in his cover letter: “I have built my reputation through trust, passion for the job, lifelong learning, being open-minded and working to make our profession better every day.”

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