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August 06. 2014 7:12PM

Mara not tapped for Somerville chief’s job

MANCHESTER — The city of Somerville, Mass., has chosen to go with one of its own, rather than Manchester Police Chief David Mara for that community’s vacant chief post.

A press release issued Wednesday by Daniel DeMaina, media manager for Somerville’s communications department, stated that David Fallon, the current Somerville police deputy chief of operations, accepted an offer from Mayor Joseph Curtatone to become the city’s new chief.

Curtatone will formally request the confirmation of Fallon’s appointment at the next regular Board of Aldermen meeting on Aug. 28, the release said.

Mara and Fallon were the two finalists for the position.

“I’m disappointed,” said Mara about not getting the job. “But I have a great job here and I’m happy here.”

Mara has spent nearly 30 years with the Manchester police department and became chief in April 2008.

He served as a patrol officer from 1986 to 1995 before obtaining his law degree from the New England School of Law.

Mayor Ted Gatsas said it’s good to have Mara staying as Manchester chief, as not to disrupt the law enforcement endeavors he has started since taking the position. He pointed out a few differences Mara has made as chief, including a more visible police presence in the downtown area.

“We can certainly continue to move forward,” Gatsas said. “It’s important to keep our eye on the ball.”

Joyce Craig, in her third term as Ward 1 alderman, said she knows Mara wanted the job and is sorry he didn’t get it, but at the same time she’s happy to still have a leader who has proven he can handle the pressure of the post in this city.

“I think he’s done a great job and I’m glad he’s staying here,” Craig said.

The Waters Consulting Group Inc., an executive recruiting company, was hired by Somerville to conduct a nationwide search for candidates. The company worked with the city’s police chief search committee to interview Somerville officials and more than 40 constituent group representatives. A public hearing also was held, and a survey garnered about 200 responses.

According to the survey results, some of the most highly sought characteristics of a new chief included visibility within the Police Department; visibility within the community; experience in dealing with mental health and addiction issues; commitment to civil liberties and individual rights; communication skills; and relationship building.

Mara was part of an original pool of 37 candidates that was whittled down to four, and eventually two.

Curtatone said he went back and forth several times before making the final decision to offer the job to Fallon. He said he was extremely impressed during his site visit with the way Mara conducts business and added many communities should be envious of what Manchester has.

“We were in a very good position because it was an extremely tough choice,” Curtatone said. “We weren’t going to lose (with either candidate).”

The Somerville mayor couldn’t point out one thing that gave Fallon the edge. Curtatone said they were both similar candidates and both communities are lucky to have them heading up their police forces.

mquirk@unionleader.com


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