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Weare gets outside help to get new chief

WEARE — The board of selectmen is seeking outside help to find a new police chief and the hope is that a new chief will be on board by fall.

According to Thomas Clow, board chairman, the town has signed an agreement with Municipal Resources Inc. (MRI) to help search for a new chief to replace Chief Gregory Begin, who retired at the end of May.

“We worked closely with MRI on a report they did about police overtime for us,” said Clow, “and they found us a temporary police administrator to fill in when Chief Begin left.”

Art Walker, former Keene Police Department chief, is serving as police administrator.

Clow said that MRI will advertise the position, screen the candidates, conduct background checks and determine if the candidates fit the community’s needs, by having them write essays.

“After that, they’ll bring to the board three to six candidates,” said Clow.

The board will interview the candidates and make the final decision.

“We want to make sure we have the right person for the job,” said Clow.

Weare has had a run of controversial police chiefs including Begin, who has left the town with two federal lawsuits for alleged civil rights violations as well as a pending lawsuit by former employee Sgt. Louis Chatel.

A sexual harassment suit and other controversy surrounding former Chief Myles Rigney, who served prior to Begin, prompted voters to change the chief position from an appointed one to an elected one.

Begin was the first chief elected to the position and won reelection twice, but in March, voters changed the role of chief back to an appointed position, giving selectmen control over hiring.

Clow said he expects the hiring process to take around 90 days. The position is being advertised with a salary in the range of $70,000, he said.

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