Board Ratifies Manager’s Choice for Fire Chief

February 14, 2024

The Select Board on Monday ratified Town Manager Matt Hanson’s appointment of James L. Bailey Jr. of Wilmington as Bedford fire chief.

Although the new chief’s contract doesn’t take effect until Feb. 26, Hanson told the board that Bailey is already getting acclimated.

“He is reaching out to the captains and the union” the town manager said, and also stopping by the firehouse to interact with crews on the different shifts. “He wanted to voluntarily start coming in and meeting people.”

Bailey, a deputy chief in Arlington for the past 13 years, has a master’s degree in public administration. Hanson highlighted the new chief’s 20-year career in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, including several deployments to Middle East campaigns.

The Select Board will welcome Bailey at a reception in Town Hall before the start of the next regular meeting on Monday, Feb. 26.

Board member Paul Mortenson, who reviewed resumes of finalists recommended by an assessment center, said all of the candidates had great credentials. But he called Bailey’s qualifications “super impressive,” adding, “His references were unbelievable.”

Hanson said the new chief will be paid $191,000 for the first year. He succeeds David Grunes, who retired in August. 

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