LYNDEBOROUGH — The Board of Selectmen is taking its time developing a picture of what the new police chief's position should look like before starting the process of finding someone to fill the role.
According to town Administrative Assistant Cindi Hasty, the only thing the board is firm on at this point is that the new chief will be part time, limited to working 32 hours per week.
"We are a small town and part of what we're dealing with is budget constraints," Hasty said. "With a full-time chief, we have to think about things like retirement and benefits."
What the board would like to see are applicants who may have served in supervisory roles in law enforcement who have now retired from their full-time careers.
"They would bring to the table the experience we want while also meeting our budget guidelines," Hasty said.
Selectman Fred Douglas, who is a former Milford police chief, has developed a vetting process for finding the right person to fill the new role, but the board has not yet approved that process.
"It's a process," said Hasty. "The board is working on it during every meeting to come up with something that makes everybody happy."
Lyndeborough hasn't had a full-time chief since December 2008, when voters at a special town meeting did away with the position in order to end relations with then-chief James Basinas. Basinas had been fired by the board but was reinstated by the court, which led almost the entire police force to quit, retire or go on leave. While the case continued to work its way through the courts, Kevin Boette, who now serves as chairman of the Board of Selectmen, launched an effort to remove Basinas by simply eliminating the position of chief during a special town meeting.
That effort succeeded, and for several years the position of officer in charge (OIC) was meant to fill the administrative function of chief. However, that setup didn't work well, and the town is now facing lawsuits from a former OIC Thomas Burke and his second-in-command Sgt. Paul Roy. Burke resigned and Roy was terminated. Both are claiming they were subjected to a hostile work environment.
Since then, Lt. Rainsford Deware has been serving as OIC, but in March, voters decided it was time to bring back the position of police chief. The new position has not yet been advertised, and Hasty said it won't be until the board has a firm process in place.