Fire Chiefs Begin a Week of Overlap on Wednesday

The interim chief of the Bedford Fire Department will begin work on Wednesday and formally take the reins a week later.

Interim Town Manager Colleen Doyle told the Select Board on Monday that Paul Sheehan will have a week of overlap with retiring Chief David Grunes, whose last day will be Tuesday, Aug. 15. Grunes has been fire chief since 2008.

Sheehan was named by Doyle last week and the Select Board confirmed the appointment at a meeting on Monday afternoon, as required under the town charter. The agreement with Sheehan ends on Dec. 31, but there are provisions to shorten or extend.

Doyle said she plans to issue a request for proposals on Tuesday seeking an assessment center to coordinate the search for a permanent fire chief.

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She told the board that Sheehan has more than 33 years of experience in fire service, the last five as assistant chief of the Cambridge Fire Department. He retired in 2021. The town manager said Sheehan also worked for the Massachusetts Fire Academy for 10 years, and his experience includes advanced life support and building renovation projects.

“He comes highly recommended by a number of people we are connected with,” Doyle said. “What I was most impressed by was his enthusiasm and excitement to return to the fire service.”

In answer to a question from Select Board member Shawn Hanegan, Doyle said Grunes will make himself available if needed for later consultation. She also said that the contract structure is the same as the one executed with former Interim Police Chief Kenneth Fong.

Select Board Chair Bopha Malone thanked Grunes for “being open to helping us if needed. It’s important to have that history and knowledge.”

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Robert Marshall
August 11, 2023 9:46 am

I find it very interesting that there is not a member of the department capable of being the acting chief. What did the department do when the chief was on vacation? Big pay raise, new station, more officers and suddenly retires? What is the salary for the interim chief?

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