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Candia selectman says board tried to save chief from embarrassment

CANDIA — After Police Chief Michael McGillen publicly derided the Board of Selectmen earlier this week for embarrassing the department when it came to a vote on a new police officer, board Chairman Frederick Kelley said the decision to put the vote off was made to spare McGillen embarrassment, not create it.

Kelley said that with fellow board member David Depuy out, the vote on whether to hire Thomas Terilli of the Greenfield Police Department would have ended in a 2-2 tie, resulting in a no vote.

"With Depuy out, I didn't think it would be fair to be embarrassed by a 2-2 vote. (McGillen) has a right to speak as he did, as far as that night goes. I am not against Mike, but I had to battle with him (in the past) over things. We'll see what happens," Kelley said.

Kelley added that as the board currently sits, fellow board members Carleton Robie and Amanda Soares would have voted against the new officer.

"I knew right off that some board members don't want a new police officer. They feel the town is doing fine without it," Kelley said.

During Monday's selectmen's meeting, Soares passed around a graph showing that crime has gone down in Candia since 2010.

She said she has never supported hiring a new officer to replace the one who left.

"(McGillen) has never given me a good reason why we need the officer, and while the position is budgeted for, money is tight," she said.

"I can make the stats show anything I want also," McGillen said previously. "And the number one deterrent to crime is when criminals see a police presence."

He added that with the summer season in full swing, crime in the town generally increases, making the department's lack of manpower that much more glaring, and that the position would not require any new money, as it would be covered under the department's budget. The department is budgeted to have seven officers, including McGillen, but is currently operating with five, as one officer left for another job and another is out with an injury.

McGillen previously said he brought Terilli, his candidate for the position, to Monday's meeting with the expectation that he would be voted on and that he was very embarrassed when it didn't happen.

"We told him to interview candidates, not to hire them. The way the board took it is that Mike told this guy that he was basically hired when that wasn't the case," Kelley said.

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