Fire Chief starts April 29th; relocation plans

by beth on March 28, 2019

This week, the Board of Selectmen signed off on the contract for our new Fire Chief. Chief Steven Achilles has resigned from Portsmouth and will start working for the Town on April 29th.

The story shares information on the financials. But it left me with a question.

How can the Town have a Fire Chief commuting from New Hampshire? The Screening Committee Chair indicated Achilles planned to relocate sooner than required. But no details were shared in the broadcast meetings.

The Southborough Wicked Local post does share a financial incentive for relocating to within 15 miles within 6 months. But given comments made by Selectwoman Bonnie Phaneuf during the recruitment process of the importance of a nearby chief, that seems a long way out.

I followed up with the Town for more. Town Administrator Mark Purple confirmed that Achilles has 18 months to relocate (as was in the job posting.) But he said that Achilles plans to relocate by June 1st.

Here is Southborough Wicked Local’s coverage of the contract:

Steve Achilles is set to take over the Fire Department on April 29, according to town officials.

Selectmen voted on a three-year contract with Achilles Wednesday morning. . .

Achilles will replace Joe Mauro, who retired earlier this month. Mauro started as a call firefighter in 1981 before he was promoted to full-time duty in 1987. . .

Under the Southborough contract, Achilles will earn a $146,000 base salary. He will receive a 2.74 percent increase to boost his salary to $150,000 six months into the job (Oct. 30) if, at that point, he meets the requirement of living within 15 miles of the town.

He will receive a 3 percent increase in each subsequent year of the contract, making his pay $154,500 and $159,135 during the second and third years, respectively, according to the contract.

Mauro earned $124,925, which the Fire Chief Screening Committee sought to increase to be comparable to fire chief salaries in other towns and cities in the area.

Click here for the full story.

1 arborist March 28, 2019 at 5:25 PM

I really hope the new chief moves to Southborough, and becomes part of our community, Then he can keep an eye on things, It has been well over 15 years that our fire chief has been a town resident, The last fire chief was Mr. Phaneuf, and believe me, He keep an eye on things, not much got past him, He was all over town 24-7, I wish the new chief the best and hopefully he will enjoy it here.

2 Resident March 31, 2019 at 8:54 AM

With the money we are paying him and the raises that are built in the contract, we should have demanded that he lives in town.

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