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Lyndeborough

Terms of employment for chief discussed

Select Board wants 12-month probation period for new hire

Lyndeborough Select Board members Kevin Boette, Arnie Byam and Fred Douglas, from left, discuss a proposed police chief job description at their Wednesday meeting.

(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)

Lyndeborough Select Board members Kevin Boette, Arnie Byam and Fred Douglas, from left, discuss a proposed police chief job description at their Wednesday meeting. (Staff photo by Dave Anderson) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

LYNDEBOROUGH — Select Board members are fine-tuning a job description for a police chief, as they prepare to start recruiting candidates.

In March, voters at Town Meeting narrowly approved a petition warrant article directing the board to hire a police chief, rather than continue with the current officer-in-charge structure. Lt. Rance Deware has been Lyndeborough’s officer in charge since June 2012, when he was named to the part-time job after Thomas Burke resigned, charging that selectmen had been interfering with management of the department.

At a meeting on Wednesday, the board reviewed a draft job description prepared by board Chair Kevin Boette. The draft, Boette said, was based on a standard description provided by the Local Government Center.

The main issue they discussed was how far away from town a chief should live. Boette’s initial draft called for the chief to live within 15 miles of the town line within six months of accepting employment.

Resident Lee Mayhew, sitting in the audience, said he thought 15 miles was a bit too tight and board member Fred Douglas suggested going with 20 miles, based on actual driving distance, not as the crow flies.

“That’s fair, I’d have no problem with that,” Boette said.

Mayhew suggested that the new chief should have a 12 month period in which to move near the town, because the town plans to have a 12-month probationary period when a chief is hired. The board agreed to that suggestion, but also discussed how the probationary period would work.

“Ideally, I’d like to see a quarterly review of the person,” Douglas said. “The probationary period gives a chance to mentor the new chief.”

The board decided to seek an opinion on probationary periods from a law firm specializing in labor relations issues. They also directed acting Town Administrator Burton Reynolds to contact N.H. State Police and local police departments to recruit experienced officers who would be willing to sit on a vetting panel to interview candidates.

The board hopes to appoint people to that vetting panel, review the legal opinion on the probationary period, and finalize the job description at its next meeting on July 24.

Dave Anderson can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 233 or danderson@ledgertranscript.com. He’s on Twitter at @DaveAndersonMLT.

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