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Candia selectmen approve new animal control officer

CANDIA — Selectmen gave their OK Monday night to resident Kaitlyn Morrill as the new animal control officer in a 3-2 vote.

Board member Amanda Soares did’t vote for Morrill and questioned the need in town to fill such a job.

“Just because the money is in the budget for an ACO position, we don’t have to spend it. We can just eliminate the position and just cut it,” Soares said.

Police Chief Michael McGillen said that since the previous ACO resigned, police officers have been doing the job, including serving notices to residents about dog license fees.

“We had officers handling animal issues during normal duty hours, and all kind of calls have been happening. We have even gotten complaints from residents saying that we shouldn’t be handling animal issues, that it is not the best use of our time or resources. I think (the ACO) is a valuable position, and I think the residents should have the final say on it,” McGillen said.

McGillen said the new ACO will be paid $13 an hour and will be capped at working eight hours per week unless a serious situation arises.

“I think the position saves the town money by having (an ACO) doing this work and not using trained police officers for work that can be done for $13 an hour,” selectmen David DePuy said.

Board member Carleton Robie joined Soares in voting against hiring a new ACO, saying that since the previous ACO resigned, there have been no problems with animal control.

Before Soares questioned having an ACO officer, she grilled McGillen on the hiring of Morrill over another candidate.

“You already had an individual who has this job somewhere else and has experience, no offense to Kaitlyn but (this other candidate) knows this job, and previously when given to you, you were fine with this applicant and now you are not. Why is this applicant excluded and Kaitlyn the one to have?” Soares asked McGillen.

McGillen said Morrill was chosen due to her availability.

Morrill will begin the job pending a background check.

The board also voted to dispose of the 12-year-old ACO van, which Board Chair Frederick Kelley said is rusting, and to put the new ACO officer in an older patrol car that will now function as the ACO’s vehicle.

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