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Center Harbor taps veteran as interim fire chief

CENTER HARBOR — Town officials have tapped the services of a former fire chief to temporarily replace former Fire Chief John Schlemmer, who resigned last week.

Leon Manville, who was fire chief from 1994-1998, has agreed to serve as interim fire chief while a replacement is found for Schlemmer, according to town officials.

Manville, who has been a volunteer member of the fire department in recent years, will serve in a part-time role in the otherwise all-volunteer department, as Schlemmer did.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge,” Manville said Tuesday.

“It’s quite a job following (Schlemmer).”

Schlemmer abruptly resigned his post Thursday morning, surprising town officials. The former chief has not commented publicly about his resignation.

Board of Selectman Chairman David Hughes said town officials are not sure why he resigned.

Schlemmer had been chief since Oct. 1, 2007, having joined the Center Harbor Fire Department in 1987. He was promoted to deputy chief in 1988, and spent a brief time as chief in the early 1990s. He later became a fire training officer in Moultonborough.

Town officials said the search for a new chief will begin in coming weeks. That process could take months, officials said.

Manville, 50, said he’ll be working 28 hours a week as interim chief, which will now be his primary job, he said.

Would he consider becoming Schlemmer’s permanent replacement?

“We’ll have to see. I haven’t decided whether I’m interested in that yet,” he said.


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