The Town of Hampden needs to undertake a thoughtful examination of the future leadership needs of the Town of Hampden Fire Department. In particular the position of Fire Chief.
The nature of the department workforce has changed from all volunteer to three full time fire fighters and 20 plus on call firefighters. At the same time the nature of the Chief’s responsibilities has also shifted. With a greater demand for rescue services, increased administrative and training duties, the changing nature of traditional fire-fighting due to the construction of solar facilities and larger homes, and emergency management responsibilities the position of Fire Chief has substantially changed.
For years the Town of Hampden was served by a volunteer chief who served at no real compensation. Recently the Board of Selectman instituted an hourly stipend for performing some administrative duties but essentially the Chief remains a volunteer.
For these reasons the Town is creating a Fire Chief Position Study Committee to examine and recommend how the position of Fire Chief should be configured. Should it remain as is? Should the position be part-time as some Towns have with a Department consisting of a combination of full-time and on call personnel? If so what is a reasonable number of required hours for a part-time position, or, should the Chief be full time with the Department consisting of a combination of full-time and on call personnel? If full or part time what would be appropriate compensation and benefits for each position?
The recommendation(s) will be used by the Board of Selectmen to help determine the best course of action to serve the residents of the Town