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Scituate begins search for new police chief as Stewart retires

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  June 20, 2013 02:03 PM

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Retiring Police Chief Brian Stewart will switch to an interim role starting in July as the town prepares to find a new chief.

Stewart, 65, submitted a letter of retirement to the town mid-June.

As is required by state law, Stewart received Town Meeting and state legislative approval last year to continue working past the age limit of 65 years; however, he did not seek the same approval this year.

“I’m on borrowed time. I turned 65 last July,” Stewart said. “It’s a difficult decision [to retire]. It’s been an honor, really, to be a Scituate police officer.”

According to Town Administrator Patricia Vinchesi, Stewart will continue to run the department in the new interim role until a new chief takes over, most likely around mid-August.

“The staff appointments I make go through a thorough and comprehensive process. ... That’s what we will do here, because it’s an important position,” Vinchesi said.

Selectmen chairman Shawn Harris and vice chairman Tony Vegnani will both serve on a search committee along with the chief of police in Marshfield; the former executive director of the Massachusetts Police Association and retired chief of police in Longmeadow; the principal of the high school; president of the police union; and three at-large community members to be recommended by the Board of Selectmen.

The job has been posted in several locations, and applications are due by July 18.

In addition to minimum job requirements, the chosen applicant will be required to live in the town or willing to move within 15 miles of the town.

“I’ll be looking for someone who wants to make a commitment to us and become part of the community,” Vinchesi said.

According to Vinchesi, the search committee will review the resumes, interview several candidates, and recommend two to five finalists to the town administrator.

From there, an assessment center will put the finalists through a series of tests, and give a report to Vinchesi. She will then make the final decision.

“It’s the same process that I’ve used for all of my professional searches,” Vinchesi said, noting that the assessment center is the only new aspect. “There is always a panel that ensures a comprehensive and objective review.”

Though the town is already focused on finding a new chief, Vinchesi took a moment during Tuesday’s selectmen meeting to thank Stewart for his 11 years of service.

“We’ve enjoyed a mutually beneficial and collaborative working relationship, and I’m proud to call him my friend,” Vinchesi said.

Stewart, who has worked his entire 38-year career with the Scituate Police Department, said he is looking forward to doing work around the house and traveling with his soon-to-be-acquired free time.

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