The field of candidates vying for fire chief in Southborough was cut in half this week when one of the two finalists for the position dropped out.
Assistant Town Administrator Vanessa Hale said Haverill Sr. Deputy Chief Brian Moriarty withdrew his name from consideration. He did not give a reason.
Moriarty had been one of two candidates promoted to the final round of interviews after months of screening that included taking part in an all-day assessment center. The other finalist is Fred Mitchell, who is currently deputy chief of the North Cumberland, RI fire district.
The Board of Selectmen was scheduled to interview both finalists on Wednesday night, and Selectman Bill Boland said the interview will go ahead as scheduled with the one remaining candidate. “There’s absolutely no reason not to continue with the interview,” Boland said. “(Mitchell) shouldn’t be penalized because someone dropped out.”
While he said he did not know why Moriarty withdrew, Boland said he was glad it happened now as opposed to after the final interviews. “It’s better to do some soul-searching before you get too far,” he said.
Selectmen decided earlier this year that the fire chief would have to live within an 15-mile radius of Southborough’s borders. Both Mitchell and Moriarty would be required to relocate if they were to get and accept the position, Boland said.
The fire chief selection process has been the focus of some criticism from residents who were disappointed that no internal candidates made it to the final round, but Boland said he has faith in the work performed by the search committee.
“The committee went through everything and advanced people they felt they could recommend that met the qualifications,” he said. “The committee did a very thorough job.”